LeBron James told Uninterrupted his best assets would "work perfectly with Mike" when asked whether he and Michael Jordan could have functioned as teammates. Despite looking up to MJ, James did want to make it clear that he would've loved to compete with Jordan as well.
Still, it is worth pondering how the two GOATs would've played together. I asked our Ben Pickman and "The Fantasy Exec" Corey Parson for their takes.
Parson: I think at first it would have been difficult because of the simple situation that LeBron James didn't have that killer instinct that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had and sometimes it seemed as though losing didn't hurt LeBron James that much. And he also was a bit of a sore loser early in his career. And I think that would have really aggravated Michael Jordan. But as his career developed, the best part of LeBron James' game is his ability to be a facilitator. And Michael Jordan would have loved it. And when this season was stopped, LeBron James was leading the league in assists. He also had the ability to take over games. So I think as he was developing that killer instinct, him and Mike would've struggled a bit with that. But his talent, his ability to facilitate the basketball, I think in the end, when it came together, they would have been pretty good. But definitely at the beginning, I think there could have been some rough spots and LeBron probably would have asked to be traded.
Pickman: You have to balance all those dynamics. But if you look at some historical examples, namely the 1992 Olympic team, Michael emerged as the lead guy on that team, but fit together well with guys like Magic Johnson and John Stockton. So I actually think they would be better off from the start than Corey alluded. Think about the connection between Johnson and Jordan during those Olympics. They played together very well with Johnson being a LeBron like passer or LeBron being a Johnson like passer and I actually worry more about how they would progress. We saw with the Olympic team that all was well during that 1992 Summer, but tensions were reportedly brewing. And had they continued on a little bit longer, some say that the team would have been in more trouble, at least chemistry wise. So I wonder if something like that would have happened. And I also don't think LeBron would have gotten to the level that he is currently in kind of the NBA hierarchy if they would have stuck together. But I believe they would have been fine from the from the jump.
Verdict: Well, of course it would have worked, they are the two best players of all time. Talent finds a way and they would have figured it out. But I do think it would have taken away a little bit from LeBron, because the killer instinct narrative really came from 2011. And I believe part of the problem with that was, he and Dwyane Wade hadn't established that hierarchy yet. From that point on, and over the course of his career, LeBron has been one of the most clutch guys. He has more playoff game winners than Jordan. But as teammates, he would be feeding Jordan in the post, not having MJ space like a Kyrie Irving. So I do wonder if friction would have eventually developed between the two, even if LeBron James is a natural facilitator. Because they are both killers on the court in their own way and have each always been the guy. Would something have to give? Or would winning cure all?
Analysis from Melissa Rohlin of AllLakers: Even though Jordan was criticized for being too hard on his teammates, James said he respects his leadership style. He identifies with being entirely consumed by winning -- and being willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.