Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James are up there in the discussion of the greatest ever to play. However, no matter how good these legends were, one player had their numbers and finished his career with a winning record against all three legends.
Chauncey Billups record vs Kobe, LeBron, and MJ
Chauncey Billups is one of the few players in NBA history fortunate enough to have faced Michael Jordan, Kobe Byrant, and LeBron James. This reflects the work he put in and how he took care of his body.
In 17 seasons, Billups played for different teams, but he would be best remembered as part of the Detroit Pistons roster that defeated Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in the 2004 NBA Finals. Interestingly, Chauncey accumulated a fantastic feat in career head-to-head games: he has a winning record over MJ, Kobe, and LeBron.
Jordan enjoyed a 3-1 advantage head-to-head against Billups when he was still part of the Chicago roster. As a Wizard, Jordan’s record against Chauncey plummeted to a 5-1 win-loss record, leading to a total of 6-4 in Chauncey's favor.
Against Kobe, Mr. Big Shot holds a 24-21 record, including a 6-5 advantage in the Playoffs. The sweetest victory would have to be the 2004 NBA Finals championship when the Detroit Pistons shredded the Lakers, 4-1.
On the other hand, the new Portland Trail Blazers coach met LeBron James while he was still with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Fans could argue that LeBron was still finding his footing in the league, thus the losses against the veteran Billups. But a total of 39 games played and a winning 22-17 record is more than enough for Billus to say he had LeBron's number as well.
So, was Billups an excellent player, or did he benefit from strong teammates? The answer is he could be both. Beating NBA legends on a regular basis shows consistency in performance. Basketball is a team sport, but point guards generally direct the teams on the floor. His leadership shined brighter on the biggest stage, and that’s why he earned the moniker Mr. Big Shot. The fact he wasn't a flashy player always resulted in Billups being underappreciated and underrated by the general NBA public.
What’s next for Chauncey Billups
As the coach of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum next season, can Billups teach them how to beat NBA superstars such as James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, or Kawhi Leonard? It remains to be seen, but for sure, his experience and composure in the Playoffs and challenging moments are something Lillard and the Blazers could learn from.
You rarely have a coach that can tell you stories about beating MJ, Kobe, and LeBron. That's gonna carry some weight in the locker room.