March 28, 2007

Head to head: Best-ever McDonald's All-Americans

Ever wonder what would happen if the greatest players that ever wore a McDonald's All-American jersey put the uniforms on and played against each other? So did we. selected 24 of the greatest players that participated in the prestigious high school all-star game.

From there we created two teams, picked our starters and debated the matchups.

Here is what we think would happen.

McDonald's All-Time Team Matchups

Isiah Thomas vs. Jason Kidd
The best point guards to ever play in the game will certainly challenge each other's ability to run their respective teams. Each was incredibly dynamic in all facets of the game. Kidd's ability to chase triple-doubles down will stand up against the greatest that ever played the game. Thomas - with his toughness, quickness and overall feel for the game - was the foundation of the Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" during their run of championships. In this game, Kidd has the edge. He is happy feeding the ball to his scorers, while also doing the dirty work to put his squad over the top.
Edge: Kidd

Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan
It doesn't get any better than this. Jordan is the best to ever play the game. Bryant is the most dynamic scorer in today's NBA. Imagine each in his prime and at the top of his game. The highly competitive stars would certainly put on a show. Jordan's uncanny ability to rise to the challenge would certainly be tough for Bryant to stop. Nevertheless, this matchup would certainly be entertaining. But let's be honest here, Jordan defined the game and Bryant has proved that he went to the school where "His Airness" taught for so long.
Edge: Jordan

Magic Johnson vs. LeBron James
New school versus old school. Like MJ against Kobe, we could be looking at teacher against student. Johnson revolutionized the game for big men with his great ballhandling skills. James is a freak of nature, matching Magic's imposing size. However, when it comes to measuring greatness, it is hard to argue against the collection of rings in Magic's jewelry box. The former Laker was one of the greatest players in the game's finest era. LeBron is just tapping into his potential. Will he ever get there? Doubtful, but it will be fun watching the process.
Edge: Magic

Kevin Garnett vs. James Worthy
Helping Magic and the Lakers during the Showtime era was Worthy. The Hall of Famer earned the moniker "Big Game James," and it is hard to argue with that. The bigger the stage, the bigger the game from the former North Carolina great. His productivity helped produce an NCAA championship and three NBA championships. Garnett is on the same path that Karl Malone and Charles Barkley were on during their pro careers. He is a great individual player, but hasn't led his team to a title. Garnett piloted the new generation of preps-to-pros players, and his versatility at the power forward spot is coveted in today's NBA.
Edge: Push

Shaquille O'Neal vs. Patrick Ewing
Finding true centers like Ewing and O'Neal is a rarity. Players like these mammoths don't come around every year. The next in line is Greg Oden, and he hasn't even completed one year of college basketball. Ewing is arguably one of the five greatest centers of all time. Even so, he would have a difficult time even at his peak dealing with the force that O'Neal brings. The game has never seen a man of O'Neal's mammoth size move the way he does. All the while, Shaq had demonstrated a post game that has little flaws. O'Neal has already earned his spot in basketball deity with four championships (with two teams).
Edge: O'Neal
East bench vs. West bench
It is hard to argue about reserve players when both squads boast Hall of Famers (Dominique Wilkins, Chris Mullin), some of the games current stars (Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony) and other franchise cornerstones (Chris Paul, Dwight Howard). The West team is young with Stoudemire, Paul, Kevin Durant and Greg Oden. Just how good are Durant and Oden? Teams are paying hefty fines just to publicly hand out compliments. No one in the NBA came close to publicly saying the same things when Howard was a prep star. The East does boast more shooters and has strength inside, but it is hard to argue with the overall star power on the West roster.
Edge: West
McDonald's All-time rosters
East West
G, Isiah Thomas* G, Jason Kidd*
G, Kobe Bryant* G, Michael Jordan*
G, Magic Johnson* G, LeBron James*
F, Kevin Garnett* F, James Worthy*
C, Shaquille O'Neal* C, Patrick Ewing*
F, Chris Mullin F, Dominique Wilkins
F, Elton Brand F, Chris Webber
F, Dwight Howard F, Amare Stoudemire
F, Carmelo Anthony F, Kevin Durant
F, Paul Pierce F, Vince Carter
C, Alonzo Mourning C, Greg Oden
G, Chauncey Billups G, Chris Paul

The McD.L.T Team: McDonald's busts | Greatest McDonald's All-American snubs

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