The One Time Michael Jordan & LeBron James Actually Shared The Court
— Updated on 19 June 2023

The One Time Michael Jordan & LeBron James Actually Shared The Court

— Updated on 19 June 2023

When LeBron James and Michael Jordan embraced during the halftime presentation of the 76 greatest players in NBA history at this year’s All-Star game in Cleveland, everyone could feel that it was special. With so many words wasted over the years arguing about which of the two is better, seeing them together reminded us all that the pair just tower over the rest of the pack.

The truth is, we all know that the comparisons are pretty ridiculous. They played under different rules, against different players, with different teammates, at different positions. Also, it is a team sport at the end of the day, meaning the idea of a “greatest player” seems to miss the point altogether. It isn’t even the most interesting hypothetical to discuss here. The respective talents of Michael Jordan and LeBron James complement each other so well, we can only imagine what a duo of 6 and 23 would look like.

Just imagine Michael Jordan scoring off some of LeBron James’ crazy passes. The paint presence, the collective basketball IQ, and the sheer competitiveness of these two are unmatched. One plays out of his pure love of basketball and winning, the other with a personal desire to humiliate and destroy his opponents. You cannot think of a team of five guys that beat one with the duo of LeBron James and Michael Jordan.

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LeBron James has spoken a lot about how much Michael Jordan inspired him growing up. From wearing number 23 to some of his fadeaway jumpers, LeBron James quite literally took the ball and ran with it. For a 16-year-old LeBron James – who came from humble beginnings – to see Michael Jordan pull up to his famous ‘Hoops: The Gym’ in a red Ferrari 512 TR would have been pretty damn influential. LeBron describes MJ at this moment as “looking like black Jesus.”

Michael Jordan was 38 years old at the time, playing for the Washington Wizards. Here, he would invite other NBA players to come practice with him. Names in attendance included the likes of Ron Artest, Antoine Walker, Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce, Penny Hardaway, and Jerry Stackhouse.

James was only 16. Despite being the best high school player in the country (ever), listening to Maverick Carter on the In The Zone podcast with Chris Brousard would suggest that LeBron didn’t really get much of a chance to play here. He did, however, get some words of encouragement from his idol, as well as witness him hit an on-brand fadeaway game-winner where he screamed out, “That’s why they pay me $33 million to do this.”

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A couple of years later, the duo actually had an opportunity to form. LeBron James was 18 and in his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The newly retired MJ was 40, but don’t let that fool you; two years earlier he had scored 51 points in an NBA game. While neither was in their prime, come on. Look who the Hell we are talking about here.

At MJ’s Santa Barbara camp, the students would be asked to leave at around 9 pm. Around then, MJ would give the college kids (and LeBron, who entered the league at only 18 years old) a run with some of the NBA guys. Jordan didn’t allow footage of these games, but do we really need to have seen it? ‘Bron and Mike were on the same team. As LeBron James said on his show Uninterrupted, when asked about the scrimmage:

“We didn’t lose a single game.”

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