Hypothetical matchups between NBA teams from different generations never get old, and the latest imaginary matchup would have been a beautiful one: The 2017 Warriors vs. the 2001 Lakers, a squad that featured the iconic Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal duo.
During an interview with Complex published Monday, Stephen Curry was asked who would win the hypothetical matchup in a seven-game series and to no one’s surprise, he chose his Golden State team that featured himself, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
“If you could match up in some alternate universe, us versus the 2001 Lakers, obviously we feel like we can win,” Curry told Complex. “I don’t know who would guard Shaq but I don’t know who would guard me and Klay either. We rockin’ with that. And three is better than two.”
Curry is referring to the Warriors having three star scorers as opposed to the Lakers just having two. During the most recent episode of The Big Podcast With ShaqO’Neal made the case for his former squad.
“My team that went 15–1, that’s the best team ever created because we should’ve gone 16–0,” O’Neal said. “I say we can win that because who’s gonna guard me and Kobe, right?
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“Here’s my rebuttal,” O’Neal continued. “Once they get hot, D-Fish (Derek Fisher), send them to the hole I’mma lay they a– out. Steph, Klad and KD. I’mma touch they a– all the way up.”
Both squads won NBA titles those years and only lost one game in the postseason. The Warriors finished 16–1 and the Lakers finished 15–1 because back then the first round of the playoffs was only a best-of-five series. O’Neal was questioned that besides Bryant and himself, there’d be a drop-off in points but he had an answer for that too.
“They’re gonna have to double me,” O’Neal said. “If they don’t double me I’m going for 60 [points] without the free throws.”
O’Neal has often called Curry his favorite NBA player and during a June 13 appearance on ESPN’s First Take, he said he believes Curry is a top-ten player of all-time. But it’s clear O’Neal has all the confidence in the world in himself and his old teammates.
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