Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Sunday, October 24, 2010
Updated: October 27, 7:29 PM ET
Who would win basketball shoe battle?

By Scoop Jackson
Page 2

What if the major sneaker companies decided to once and for all settle the ultimate beef? Each one taking their best basketball players and challenge one another on the court instead of in Foot Locker?

Nike players against adidas. Jordan Brand against Converse. Li Ning against the World.

It's one thing to claim swagger rights in the P&L statements, it's another to win in the pre-eminent game of "Vs. Anyone." If each company put its best six players up (starting five, one bench player), it could be the greatest mythical basketball battle ever witnessed.

The Squads:

• Nike: Kobe Bryant. LeBron James. Kevin Durant. Dirk Nowitzki. Amare Stoudemire. Steve Nash (sixth man).

• adidas: Dwight Howard. Derrick Rose. Tim Duncan. Chauncey Billups. Josh Smith. Candace Parker (sixth woman).

• Reebok: John Wall. Yao Ming. Jamal Crawford. Al Jefferson. Jameer Nelson. Danilo Gallinari (sixth man).

• Converse: Elton Brand. Kirk Hinrich. Alando Tucker. Kyle Korver. Udonis Haslem. Adrian "Whole Lotta Game" Walton (sixth man).

• The New Kicks On The Block (Under Armour/Anta/Peak/Protege): Brandon Jennings. Kevin Garnett. Ron Artest. Al Jefferson. Stephen Jackson. Cappie Pondexter (sixth woman).

• Li Ning: Shaquille O'Neal. Baron Davis. Evan Turner. Jose Calderon. Hasheem Thabeet. Argentina national team (bench).

• Jordan Brand: Dwyane Wade. Carmelo Anthony. Chris Paul. Joe Johnson. Gerald Wallace. Ray Allen (sixth man).

A spokesperson for adidas' TV campaign said: "With the mad 'quickishness' of my dude D-Rose, Chauncey and JSmove, Dwight's rim rattling and TD's rings, we'll take our chances. Bring on Nike, Team Jordan. Heck, bring on British Knights and LA Gear. We fear no one and nothing. Did you see our bench?"

Jason Mayden of Jordan Brand counters: "[We] are the individual pieces that sum to the whole of what MJ represents. Which is the spirit of competition. Team Jordan athletes train for fourth-quarter performance. They seek the ball in clutch situations. They embrace challenges and celebrate difficulty. Like Jay-Z said, 'I'm not a hustler I'm the definition of it.' That's us. So let the games begin."

Sneakers expert and author Bobbito Garcia said: "Nike's squad would win, the Jordan team would have the most highlights, and the adidas crew will give everyone a good run for their money 'cause nobody can guard Dwight or Rose!"

And then there's Shaq: "[We would] beat 'em because there are a lot of great Chinese and American players. It would depend on who the other players are, but [still] we would win."

Who'd win? Smart money would be on Jordan, but Nike's length (and Kobe) would be a problem. And don't sleep on the NKOTB squad. In an NCAA-type of tournament, it could upset someone easily.

But all involved should be lucky this isn't back in the day.

Because if we put an old-school, throwback, retro roster together for Converse, it would win easily. A lineup of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, Julius Erving, Kevin McHale with Bernard King off the bench (who were all wearing Converse at the same time back in the day), would be unbeatable. Even if Jordan came back and played for Jordan.

Back to Page 2


• Philbrick: Page 2's Greatest Hits, 2000-2012
• Caple: Fond memories of a road warrior
• Snibbe: An illustrated history of Page 2
Philbrick, Gallo: Farewell podcast Listen