3 of the All-Time Classic NBA Duels


The beef between Meek Mill and Drake has taken the hip-hop world by storm. What started with a few tweets quickly turned into a couple of diss records, which led to a plethora of memes and uproar all over social media. Sometimes we see the same things happen in the game of basketball. Whether it’s Matt Barnes explaining his dislike of Serge Ibaka or two legends in Shaquille O’Neal and Scottie Pippen going at each other on Instagram. Like the music industry, beefs occur in the game of basketball all the time, but in most cases, the players often let their game do the talking.

With Drake and Meek Mill taking constant jabs at each other, its only right that we get in tune with this competitive nature and look at some of the best duels the NBA has ever seen.

Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins
(Credit: Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty Images

Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins

Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference Finals is looked at as one of the best battles in basketball history. Two juggernauts of the league in Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins were both at the top of their games and truly displayed what their games were made of. Wilkins put up an astounding 47 points, however it wasn’t enough to come out with a win. Bird scored 34 points, 20 of which came in the 4th quarter, which led to his team’s victory.

Gilbert Arenas and Kobe Bryant
(Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant vs. Gilbert Arenas

Whenever you see two gunslingers (no pun intended) at the shooting guard position appear on the schedule, that’s a game that you don’t want to miss. Kobe Bryant was the best scorer in the league and Gilbert Arenas was not far behind, so when it came to battling each other on the court, it was all about who could outdo the other. Arenas simply was feeling it, getting bucket after bucket. He ended the game with 60 points, which was a career-high, and he also added 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Gilbert was always known as an assassin when it came to scoring the ball. He could get it any which way he wanted to and many defenders couldn’t stop it.

Kobe Bryant was on the other spectrum of a high-scoring night. He put up an easy 45 points on an efficient 15-for-24 shooting, which came along with 10 rebounds and 8 assists. However, his fantastic game was overlooked by the onslaught that was put on by Agent Zero.

Looking back at this moment, it’s amazing to watch because these two guys just made scoring look so easy. Putting the ball in the basket came so effortlessly, but the rarity of seeing two dynamic players go at each other like this, and put up those type of numbers, is what makes this game classic.

Allen Iverson and Vince Carter
(Credit: Nathaniel S. Buter/NBAE/Getty Images)

Allen Iverson vs. Vince Carter

First let’s start off with the numbers…

Iverson vs. Carter

Allen Iverson and Vince Carter gave the world a series that could never be forgotten. Great basketball was put on display by these two players in their prime and it led to one of the best back-and-forth scoring outputs that we’ve ever seen in the playoffs. Allen Iverson came off of an amazing season, being crowned League MVP and also winning MVP of the NBA All-Star game. He averaged 31 points, 5 assists and three steals that season, leading the Philadelphia 76ers deep into the playoffs. But no matter how well he did on the court, the ‘thug’ image he encompassed throughout his career always seemed to cloud over his head. Many wanted to see him fail and hated the hip-hop culture that he embodied, but that didn’t stop him from being the dynamic basketball player that he was.

Vince Carter was the human highlight reel that everyone was tuned in to see. There wasn’t a dunk he couldn’t do and his flashy style and crazy athleticism kept fans on their feet. In this series, it seemed like both players had the ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ mentality, which led them to want to outshine the opposing player each game. Three 50-point games in a series is astonishing and unheard of, but it made for great basketball and truly displayed what it means to put everything you have on the court. But in the end, there could only be one, and this time around it happened to be Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers winning the series.

This time around Toronto and Philly meet again, but whose turn is it now? Meek Mill, like AI, holds the bad boy image in hip-hop whereas Drake is the good guy and is known as the face of Toronto. Currently, the Canadian star is up 2-0 in the series, and even though many are impatiently waiting for Philly’s comeback, it has yet to be heard.


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