With new episodes of ESPN’s 10-part docu-series The Last Dance — which chronicles basketball legend Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls’ final title run during the 1997-98 NBA season — still airing, an old debate among basketball fans has been given new life. For years, it has been debated whether Jordan or current NBA superstar LeBron James is the greatest player in the sport’s history. Meanwhile, a former NBA MVP has seemingly given his opinion on which of the two was/is the most feared by opponents.
Steve Nash, who captured two MVP trophies and developed into one of the greatest point guards in league history while directing the Phoenix Suns’ “seven seconds or less” attack during the mid-2000s, made the revelation during an appearance on Showtime’s All That Smoke podcast — and he’s picking Jordan.
As relayed by SLAM, the 46-year-old stated his firm belief that Jordan is the greatest player ever to play the game and took his commentary to another level by calling him the most feared player in the NBA in his prime while chatting with hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. He also maintained that no player since — a pool that would include James — has commanded the same level of respect from opponents that Jordan did.
“Playing against him, the one thing that I think that he was unlike any other player I’ve played against is that there was a real fear playing against him. I’ve never seen the league be kind of fearful of a player or have that much reverence for a player.”
“No matter who has come since then… That was a different feeling when you’re playing Mike. There was such a seriousness, a competitiveness and fire in him. And there was a fear of how that was going to manifest itself potentially on any given night.”
While the James/Jordan debate will likely rage on in spite of Nash’s comments, the Hall of Famer may be more qualified than most to comment on how great players are perceived by their peers. In addition to having faced Jordan in competition, Nash also squared off with the likes of James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, and Hakeem Olajuwon during his 18-year career.
While arguments have been made for both Jordan and James, Nash isn’t the only former MVP to come out on the side of MJ recently. As reported by The Inquisitr, Durant recently made the claim that Jordan would be the NBA’s best player in today’s league despite its evolution in the years since his retirement.