Michael Jordan and LeBron James are universally recognized as the two best players in NBA history. They will forever be linked to each other despite Jordan having a closer relationship with the late Kobe Bryant than James.
As everyone knows, James wears No. 23 because of Jordan. The Chicago Bulls legend was LeBron’s favorite player growing up in Akron, Ohio. Even though Jordan routinely torched the Cleveland Cavaliers, James was still in love with his game and swagger.
Michael Jordan supporters will fight to the end to defend His Airness against LeBron James fans who think King James has passed the Bulls icon in the GOAT debate. However, both fanbases may not know the two NBA superstars were once teammates and went undefeated.
Michael Jordan and LeBron James are basketball gods
Michael Jordan and LeBron James both seem like they were built in a lab. MJ defied physics and gravity when he played, and James has followed suit since entering the NBA in 2003.
With the Bulls and Washington Wizards, Jordan averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. He won six titles, six Finals MVPs, and five regular-season MVPs during his run with the Bulls. Chicago went 6-0 in the Finals, and Jordan never needed more than six games to win a championship.
Meanwhile, James has career numbers of 27.0 points, 7.4 boards, and 7.4 assists per game with the Cavs, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. He has four titles, four Finals MVPs, and four regular-season MVPs under his belt. LeBron is also the only player in NBA history to rank top-10 all-time in points and assists.
The biggest blemish on James’ basketball résumé is his Finals record. The 17-time All-Star is 4-6 in the Finals and has been swept twice.
The basketball world was one year away from seeing Jordan and James face each other. MJ retired at the end of the 2002-03 season, while LeBron got drafted in 2003. It would have been incredible to watch them play each other.
However, it would have been even more remarkable to witness Michael Jordan and LeBron James play on the same team. While there isn’t any video of it, The King and MJ were apparently once teammates in Santa Barbara at a Jordan camp and destroyed their competition.
Michael Jordan and LeBron James were teammates in 2003
After he got drafted by the Cavs with the first overall pick in the 2003 draft, LeBron James went to Santa Barbara to participate in Michael Jordan’s basketball camp. One night, Jordan and the college kids he had at the camp played five-on-five, and James and MJ ended up on the same team.
During an interview in May 2020, James told the story about being teammates with Jordan and how his team never lost a game.
“We were on the same team. I was a rookie,” James said. “I was a rookie in the league, and I went to Santa Barbara to MJ’s camp, and we used to play around 9:00 p.m. The camp would end, he would let the kids watch like the first game around like 8:30, and then he’d have all the kids leave, and then we would stay, along with the college kids that he would invite to the camp. I was on a team with MJ, and we didn’t lose a game.”
Michael Jordan and a young LeBron James being on the same team is just flat-out unfair. Hopefully, video footage of this historic game gets leaked one day.
How many championships will The King finish with?
LeBron James is the first player in NBA history to win three Finals MVPs with three different teams. The future Hall of Famer is two rings from tying Michael Jordan with six and three away from winning seven.
Due to an ankle injury, James has been out since March 31. The Lakers are only repeating as champions this season if he and Anthony Davis are 100%. Both superstars are expected to be back for the 2021 playoffs, but they will likely be rusty.
Michael Jordan’s Finals record of 6-0 is untouchable. However, if LeBron James can get to seven rings, the GOAT debate between MJ and LeBron stans will be even louder than it already is.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.