Former US NBA basketball player Shaquille O’Neal is seen during a promotional event in Hong Kong on August 18, 2015. O’Neal, who was visiting Hong Kong to promote an energy drink, backed a young Michael Jordan to beat LeBron James in his prime one-on-one when asked who would win a hypothetical match-up between the NBA greats. | Getty Images

Shaq weighs in: Michael Jordan would beat LeBron James 1-on-1

SHARE Shaq weighs in: Michael Jordan would beat LeBron James 1-on-1
SHARE Shaq weighs in: Michael Jordan would beat LeBron James 1-on-1

Shaquille O’Neal’s opinion matters in the great Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate.

O’Neal played against both Jordan and James in their prime during his 19-year NBA career. So when he was asked Tuesday who would win in a one-on-one matchup between the two, O’Neal didn’t hesitate.

“Mike,” O’Neal said, via Yahoo. “I think you have to go with a young Jordan every time.”

A week ago, Jordan said “no question” he could beat James in the prime of his career. James responded by saying “I’m gonna take myself versus anybody.”

“It would be an interesting game,” O’Neal said. “Young LeBron was more like Magic Johnson. He was sort of like Magic with Jordan’s abilities. He liked to pass, and he liked to get it up.

“But Mike was Mike. He was just special, like no one else. He always did things no one else could do, and things you couldn’t compare to anyone else. So he was special, and he’d win.”

O’Neal threw an interesting wrench into the conversation, though, by saying Julius Erving was better than both Jordan and James.

“I’ve seen young Mike and young LeBron and I must say Dr. J is still my favourite player,” O’Neal said. “A lot of people today don’t even mention his name but to me I still think he was the best. But these are questions that we’ll never know the answer to.”

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