LeBron James Got Emotional Watching Michael Jordan Win First Title

James said he nearly cried watching Jordan celebrate winning his first championship in 1991.
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The moment struck a chord with LeBron James. 

Michael Jordan held the Larry O'Brien trophy, staring at it with his face twisted in emotion. 

He pressed his cheek against it. Then his forehead. He cried. He shook his head. Took deep breaths. People touched his shoulder, giving him congratulatory embraces. He ignored them all. 

In that moment, the trophy was the only thing that mattered. The only thing that existed. 

It took Jordan seven long seasons to win his first championship in 1991, and all of the hard work, sacrifice, angst, struggle and disappointment of those years finally paid off when the Chicago Bulls beat the Lakers in Game 5 of The Finals.

Scenes from that celebration were shown in episode four of "The Last Dance" documentary series which aired Sunday on ESPN. James, a three-time NBA champion, said watching that moment deeply touched him. 

It took James nine seasons to win his first championship in 2012 with the Miami Heat. Four years later, he collapsed onto his knees on the court and wept after bringing Cleveland their first-ever NBA championship in 2016.

So much has to go right to win a title. And even when things go so right, it only takes one injury to derail everything. 

A player's greatness is always questioned until they win a championship. 

For a long time, Jordan was considered a wonderful entertainer. But it took a championship to put him in the same conversation as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. 

And it took six championships in eight seasons to elevate him to being widely considered as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. 

As for James, his championships with Miami came with asterisks. There was always a "yeah, but."

He had teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a super team. Could James do it on his own? Do those championships even really count?

James quieted all of the naysayers by bringing Cleveland their first professional championship in 52 years in 2016. He did it in a remarkable way, overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals against Golden State, the first and only team to ever overcome such a hole on that stage. And he did it largely on his own, without any megastars by his side. 

So while James was at home watching "The Last Dance," he knew what Jordan was feeling on that night in 1991. 

It's a feeling he felt before. 

It's one of pure relief, validation, elation. 

It's a feeling everyone dreams of but few will experience.