If you asked Michael Jordan, who was one of his toughest matchups in his career, Joe Dumars name would probably come up alongside a few other NBA legends. They had several great battles between themselves in the late '80s and early 90' when the young Chicago Bulls squad had to go through the Detroit Pistons in the eastern conference. After several losses in the playoffs, they finally managed to beat them in the 1991 ECF, which pretty much ended the Pistons' reign while establishing the Bulls dynasty.
In an interview for Fox Sports Radio, Joe Dumars talked about the rivalry between the Pistons and the Bulls. He reflected on his matchup with Jordan and the overall respect for him and the Bulls, which he displayed in the 1991 ECF by being one of the rare players that shook their hands in the infamous game 4. On top of that, Dumars pitched in on the never-ending GOAT debate, and he can only talk about the player he faced in his career. Because of that, Dumars calls Jordan the most outstanding player he ever had to go up against during his playing days.
I'll give you an exact answer to this. I had a million people talk to me about this, and I will give you the exact answer I give everybody. The greatest player I ever played against is, without a doubt, Mike. I understand this generation because they didn't see Mike, so LeBron is their guy. I don't really have a GOAT, but I can tell you the greatest guy I stepped across the line with was Mike. I never stepped across the line with LeBron, so for these guys, I don't get caught up on who is the greatest. I can just tell you who is the best dude I had to strap up against, and it was Mike.
Joe Dumars, via Fox Sports Radio
Dumars was incredibly reasonable in his explanation because he didn't exclude other players like LeBron, who is now often mentioned in the GOAT debate. He did play against other legends like Magic, Bird, Drexler, but Jordan was the guy he has the most respect for, and for him stating he is the greatest makes complete sense. Dumars is recognized around the league as a guy with a lot of class in full display during this interview, talking about this never-ending debate that always brings a lot of attention from many NBA fans.