Shaquille O’Neal made headlines recently when he said that the 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers championship roster would beat today’s Golden State Warriors dynasty. Since the rise of the Warriors four years ago, this debate has been brought up nonstop.
The original discussion was about Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Chicago Bulls that went 72-10, and the debate got so ingrained in sports that Las Vegas released betting odds on the fictional matchup. The Warriors of course were favored, but this has led to a string of former players on great teams saying they could beat the Warriors.
Curry responded to O’Neal’s comments, and started with a confident answer about how a matchup between his Warriors and O’Neal’s Lakers would go, via ESPN’s Nick Friedell:
“Oh, he’s dead wrong,” Curry told ESPN, with a confident smile, prior to Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Raptors. “Of course. We’d beat them. We can go back-and-forth all day.”
Curry then spoke about conversations like this as a whole and how there’s no need to compare and simply enjoy the greatness of each roster:
“For me, I think it’s a tough conversation because I’ve always found it hard to compare eras to each other,” Curry said. “But in terms of having three banners up there and create parallels and comparisons to how they dominated the league through their run to what we’re doing now, I think that speaks a lot on its own. Just in terms of us accomplishing the goal and fulfilling the potential that we have.
“And we’re still in the middle of it so — I laugh sometimes, I saw Shaq today talked about his three-peat championship team would have destroyed us for whatever reason. All those conversations are just entertaining because (1) who knows? (2) the game is so different. Teams that dominated their respective eras need to be left alone in terms of what that means. Hopefully that’s how they’ll approach us when they talk about us 20, 30 years from now looking back.”
Of course, we’ll never know the answers to these questions, so all it means is that the debates will continue. And in 20 years when the next super team comes along, they’ll likely be pitted in a hypothetical matchup with Curry’s Warriors and Jordan’s Bulls regularly.
For now, though, Curry and the rest of the NBA should stay focused on the Warriors beating this current crop of Lakers, as their highly anticipated Christmas Day game is on the horizon.