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During Game 2 of the NBA Finals, former NBA Head Coach and ESPN NBA color commentator Jeff Van Gundy had some high-praise for the dynamic duo of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. After big shots by Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, Van Gundy exclaimed that the two former MVP’s, are “One of the best duos to play together…Maybe ever.” Now with all due respect, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are clearly the best 1-2 in the league today, but ever?

Combined Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have accomplished some of the highest honors in the NBA, both were named Most Valuable Player of the league (Durant ’14, Curry ’15 and ’16) both reached the Finals and both have led the NBA in scoring and both have been leaders of their respective squads. But there have many duos in the league that have accomplished much more than Durant and Curry have while playing together.

Let’s take a look at a handful of duo’s that several consider the Greatest Duo of All-Time.

  • Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 

Career Averages:

Magic Johnson – 19.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 11.2 apg             

 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 24.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 2.5 bpg

Accomplishments during tenure:

From 1979-1989

    5x NBA Champions

8 NBA Finals Appearances

3 NBA MVP Awards

4 NBA Finals MVP Awards

Magic and Kareem brought the flashy, fast paced, running style of the “Showtime” Era of the Lakers in the 80’s. The pair also brought 5 more championships to L.A. and with signature moves such as Magic’s “No-Look Pass” and Kareem’s infamous and unblocked “Sky-Hook” both changed the game not only on the court but off of it as well, turning the Lakers into the must see entertainment of Los Angeles.

 

  • Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen:

 

Career Averages:

Michael Jordan – 30.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.3 apg

  Scottie Pippen – 16.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.2 apg

Accomplishments during tenure:

From 1987-1998

6x NBA Champions

 6 NBA Finals Apperances

6 NBA Finals MVP Awards

5 NBA MVP Awards

Jordan and Pippen are the Gold Standard when it comes to winning in the biggest stage, the NBA Finals, after finally taking down the Bad Boy Pistons in ’91, the Bulls never looked back since, dominating the competition in the ‘90’s which included two 3-peats from 91-93 and from 96-98. Although, the greatness of Pippen is overshadowed by the GOAT Michael Jordan, each one needed each other to succeed. Both were amazing two-way players that gave defenses nightmares and opposing scorers trouble night in and night out. Jordan and Pippen also were the reason why many Hall of Famers did not ever win an NBA title.

 

  • LeBron James and Dwyane Wade:

 

 

Career Averages:

LeBron James – 27.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 7.0 apg

  Dwyane Wade – 23.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.7 apg

Accomplishments during tenure:

From 2010-2014

  2x NBA Champions

4 NBA Finals Appearances

2 NBA MVP Awards

2 NBA Finals MVP Awards

During a 4 year span in Miami, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade put on an absolute show. Wade and James made it to the Finals every year they played together and won back to back titles in 2012 and 2013. The league saw an athletic prime-time LeBron James, paired up with savvy veteran and 2006 NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade running through the Eastern Conference, and in dominate fashion. In the 2012-2013 season the 1-2 punch of Wade and James went on a 27 game winning streak, ultimately preparing them for a nice playoff run. Although the Heat with LeBron and Wade did not win a title in all their finals appearances, making it to 4 straight is quite the accomplishment that not many teams have done before.

 

  • Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal:

 

Career Averages:

Kobe Bryant – 25.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.7 apg

  Shaquille O’Neal – 23.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg

Accomplishments during tenure:

From 1996-2004

 3x NBA Champions

4 NBA Finals Apperances

1 NBA MVP Award

3 NBA Finals MVP Awards

Kobe and Shaq, Shaq and Kobe, no matter how you put it, the Diesel and the Mamba were a fantastic duo that won three straight titles from 2000-2002. Not to mention the rebirth of Laker dominance since Showtime, Kobe and Shaq did it all for L.A. with the physical, powerful presence of Shaq on the block and the finesse and athleticism of Kobe Bryant the two took the league by storm. Shaq proclaims them as the “Greatest 1-2 punch ever”, which says and means a lot from the big fella, who played alongside greats such as Penny Hardaway, Dwyane Wade, Steve Nash, and LeBron James. While Shaq gets most of the praise when it comes to the finals (3-time Finals MVP), Kobe did take over a handful of many key games and stretches during their run.

 

If Curry and Durant stay together for the long run and win multiple NBA titles, there is no question they will go down as one of the top duo’s to ever play the game. Nobody has seen such a scoring/shooting combo that are as challenging to guard as Steph and KD. But as of right now they need to win and close out the 2017 NBA Finals first before we get that far ahead of ourselves. It might take a couple seasons of winning and dominating just as their predecessors did, before being crowned The Greatest Duo of All-time, sorry Van Gundy.

 

 

 

 

Written By Daniel Malakismail