One of the biggest ‘what ifs’ in NBA history is the outcome of a LeBron James and Michael Jordan duel. The two players have been the defining stars of their respective generations, and the sport as a whole.
But to the dismay of many fans, MJ and LeBron never got the chance to play together in the NBA. LeBron did get to play against Jordan when he was just a high school star when Jordan was preparing to make his second comeback in the NBA with the Washington Wizards.
Jordan’s comeback ended in 2003, just a few short months before LeBron entered the league as one of the most hyped prospects in history. If Jordan had played one more season, we would have gotten a glimpse at MJ vs LeBron.
But that duel may not have been a great indicator of who was better. Jordan was 40 years old when he walked away from the game, and LeBron was just 18 when he entered the league. So how would a duel like that have even gone?
The biggest question is; how would a prime LeBron vs prime Jordan match-up go? There are arguments to be made for both players to get the better of the other. But we will never know how it would go down.
Michael Jordan is among the many who has thought about that battle. In an interview in 2013, MJ broke down how he would try and stop LeBron James. He explained that he studied LeBron James meticulously, and knows that he can stop him by forcing him to go left and shoot the ball, something LeBron has a tendency to do.
“I study him [LeBron James]. When LeBron goes right, he usually drives; when he goes left, he usually shoots a jumper. It has to do with his mechanics and how he loads the ball for release. So, if I have to guard him, I’m gonna push him left 9 out 10 times. If he goes right he’s going to the hole and I can’t stop him. So, I ain’t letting him go right.”
So Jordan, unsurprisingly, is sure about what he needs to do in order to defeat ‘the King’. But until we can get our hands on a time machine, fans have no choice but to speculate about who would win in a matchup.