Legendary Pokémon vs. NBA superstar: Could Mewtwo beat LeBron James in a 1v1?

Debates about what Pokémon is the strongest have circulated since the franchise launched in 1996, and hypothetical questions have only grown as more games and Pokémon are released. But have you ever wondered if a Legendary Pokémon could hit the court and take on LeBron James in a one-on-one matchup? 

ESPN sports personality Stephen A. Smith runs hours upon hours of daily content from his headlining First Take broadcast to his own show on YouTube and other platforms. Over the last several months, Smith has started taking broader questions from his audience that branch outside of sports. From a viral moment showing his knowledge of Cars’ Pistons Cup history to breaking down the best athlete in SpongeBob Squarepants, things get out of hand quickly in these segments—and it’s happened again today.

Mewtwo Pokemon TCG art.
Could Mewtwo have been created to battle and ball? Image via The Pokemon Company

On his May 20 recording of the Stephen A. Smith Show, Smith was asked if he thought the Legendary Pokémon Mewtwo could take on NBA superstar LeBron James in a one-on-one basketball showdown. And, while Smith’s display of Pokémon knowledge is about as baseline as some of his analysis on ESPN’s NBA Playoff halftime show, he does make some good points

Smith noted Mewtwo might be shorter than LeBron but weighs more on paper, before delving into some of the listed moves and abilities in the image shared on the show.

“Abilities, Pressure, Unerver Hidden Ability. Alright, so he’s got composure,” Smith said. “Psychic, yeah, he can anticipate moves and stuff like that. Yeah, maybe he could pull it off. I mean from the looks of him he might scare LeBron. LeBron might want to shoot more jump shots. Might not want to come near [Mewtwo.] And that long tail, you never know, might strip him [of the basketball.]”

So, while Smith settled on saying it was a possibility that Metwo could take LeBron in a one-on-one, the internet ran with it. Soon social media was flooded with art of Mewtwo dunking on the four-time NBA Champion and more questions were raised about the matchup. Such as, how would LeBron be able to deal with Mewtwo if the Pokémon used Disable on his ability to dunk or if Mewtwo’s famous quote about “the circumstances of one’s birth” from Pokémon: The First Movie actually just means “ball is life.”

The comparisons get even wilder if you delve into the realm of other media featuring LeBron, such as Space Jam 2: A New Legacy or his inclusion as a playable character in MultiVersus. Based on sheer movesets in those circumstances, and Mewtwo’s overwhelming Psychic powers, our bet is on the genetically modified battler known to have the “most savage heart among Pokémon,” according to the Pokédex.

And, following the discussion, some fans are asking that Smith be the next voice of the Pokédex, with the official Pokémon account even responding with a meme of its own.

This isn’t even the first time Smith has brought up Pokémon on his show, as he picked his favorite Kanto Starter back in January and moved on to Johto last month. And, based on his response to former Pokémon VGC World Champion Wolfe Glick on Twitter, it sounds like Pokémon could become a staple of the basketball show moving forward with occasional expert interviews and insight—fingers crossed.

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