When you’re the king of the mountain — and undoubtedly LeBron James is currently standing on top of the NBA mountain — everybody wants to knock you off.
That can be the other 29 teams in the league. That can be a legend who once stood in that spot and can’t let it go.
Or, that could be an athlete from a completely different discipline with delusions of grandeur.
Carolina Panthers’ defensive end Greg Hardy was a basketball player back in the day at Ole Miss, and he told the Charlotte Observer thinks he could beat LeBron one-on-one.
Q: If you went 1-on-1 with LeBron who would win?
A: How should I answer this question? …I would dominate that dude. Hands down, guaranteed win. And that’s my favorite player.
A: I’m a beast…
I’m not saying I would beast him, but I would definitely win. I got a good shot, I got good handles, I got good size (6-foot-4, 275 pounds). I feel that we match up pretty well. I was a defensive player in college.
Hardy, stay in your lane.
We can break this down if you want. Hardy is a big man — 6’4”. 275 pounds — but he gives up four inches and a whole lot of quickness (with all due respect to Hardy) in this matchup. LeBron is not giving up much bulk. Hardy had enough skills to play DI ball, and maybe he can bull rush his way to a couple points in a matchup, but LeBron would own him with jumpers and drives and length.
Sometimes people underestimate how good NBA players are. Look at it this way: What happened when NBA role player Brian Scalabrine took on non-NBA guys one-on-one?
Hardy went on to say this was a response to the people who said LeBron could play DE in the NFL. But this kind of schoolyard retort makes Hardy look like he’s grabbing for attention, just the same as the people who think LeBron could play for the Cowboys next season.
Could LeBron walk onto the field and play defensive end in the NFL tomorrow? No. If he’d stuck with football maybe he could have made the league as a tight end, and only maybe, but LeBron wisely decided to make basketball his focus.
He stayed in his lane.