Speaking at a promotional event in Hong Kong, Shaquille O'Neal was asked the reductive, inescapable question of the offseason: Jordan or LeBron?
"It would be an interesting game," O'Neal said, according to the Associated Foreign Press. "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."
Both James and Jordan have recently commented on who would win, were the two to play each other in their primes. Jordan said it was "no question." James was a little more diplomatic, telling USA Today, "I'm gonna take myself over anybody."
But O'Neal's most interesting take on the debate was that he would take Julius Erving over either of them.
"I've seen young Mike and young LeBron, and I must say Dr. J is still my favorite 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. It's a bit like if I met Bruce Lee in an alleyway. Who would win? You'll never know. Some people say, 'Well, Bruce would kick Shaq's ass.' Some people say, 'Well, Shaq is two times bigger than Bruce Lee.' It's a good question, a good conversation, but we'll never know."
(Could Shaq take Bruce Lee? His fellow Lakers center, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, couldn't take Lee down in 1978's "Game Of Death," but that was a kung-fu movie. "Shaq Fu" might have fared better.)