The 2002-03 season was the last time we ever saw Michael Jordan lace them up and hoop in the NBA. Sadly, it wasn't on a Championship-caliber team like the Chicago Bulls, but with the Washington Wizards.
Needless to say, Jordan was no longer the alpha dog in the league at the time. He was still a dominant scorer and averaged 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game on 44% shooting but his team wasn't contending and he was already 39 years old.
Back then, one of the league's biggest stars was playing in the Western Conference, a young Kobe Bryant who had already won three Championships and won the respect of Jordan himself. The guy who copied his moves and made them their own and had the same killer mindset than him.
Bryant was torching opposing defenders night in and night out in 2003. He averaged 30.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 three-pointers, and 2.2 steals per game on 45/38/84 shooting and it looked like he was ready to carry Jordan's torch for good.
That was, of course, until the 2003 NBA Draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers got the first overall pick and used it to draft the biggest sensation in the nation out of St. Vincent-St. Mary: Ohio native LeBron James.
James took the league by assault right out of the gate and made people wonder whether he was going to become the greatest player of the post-Jordan era. That back-and-forth between him and Kobe marked his career, without a doubt.
Sadly, we were just one season away from having LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan in the league at the same time. Had Michael decided to stay for a third year with the Wizards, we could've witnessed all in the court in the All-Star Game, which would've been nuts.
Jordan and LeBron were pretty similar to Magic Johnson and Kobe in the sense that Kobe made it to the Lakers as soon as Johnson retired. The same happened with LeBron, with the difference that he didn't join the Wizards or the Bulls.
At least, legends of the game have always left the league in the right hands and we can be sure that the same will happen once James finally decides that his career must come to an end.