Could LeBron James really coexist with Michael Jordan on the same team?

LeBron James hugs Michael Jordan (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
LeBron James hugs Michael Jordan (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Would LeBron James and Michael Jordan theoretically work on the same team?

It has become an almost daily debate on who is the best NBA player of all-time: Michael Jordan or LeBron James. Two legends in two different eras.

For Jordan, it was all about isolation basketball. Hand checking was the preferred defense of choice. Slashing to the basket and top of the key jump shots were MJ’s bread and butter. Three-pointers? No way, but he could knock them down. Just ask the Portland Trail Blazers.

For LeBron, it was brute strength. The patron saint of position-less basketball. He is a melting point of all the greatest players in NBA history. The way the NBA has been played since his debut in 2003 has been a blessing to offenses, with more scoring opportunities than ever before. The bullying defense of the 1990s would result in flagrant fouls and suspensions.

King James has ruled his court for 17 years.

LeBron James believes he and Michael Jordan would coexist together

Could those playing styles coexist? Well, if you ask LeBron, the answer is yes. In a recent interview, LeBron said:

"[via Uninterrupted]“Me personally, the way I play the game — team first — I feel like my best assets work perfectly with Mike,” James said in a video released Monday on Uninterrupted’s YouTube channel. “Mike is an assassin. When it comes to playing the game of basketball, scoring the way he scored the ball, [then] my ability to pass, my ability to read the game plays and plays and plays in advance.”"

LeBron makes some good points. By his logic, all he would have to do is to find Jordan for an open basket. If he was unavailable, then he would take it himself.

I am just not convinced it would be so cut and dry.

Look, we have all watched The Last Dance. We all know and understand Jordan’s commitment to excellence and his unbending nature to squeeze the best out of his teammates. If LeBron is unable to find him the ball, then Jordan would just bring the ball up himself. Where does that leave James?

Would either player be okay playing second fiddle? LeBron has had the fortune of having teammates willing to step aside from their current team to let him be the star. Dwyane Wade had to do it in 2011 and the Miami Heat went on to win back-to-back championships.

On a lesser scale, Kyrie Irving took a backseat to watch James bring the Cleveland Cavaliers from a foggy four-year haze since his acrimonious departure to championship glory. Depending on how the Los Angeles Lakers turn out, maybe we would even see Anthony Davis be the second option for the next couple of years until LeBron retires.

Are we to say that Jordan would fill this role?

I will wait for your laughter to finish.

On paper, LeBron and Jordan on the same team would wreak havoc. You could have those two greats with three lucky fans and still be able to win at least 45 games.

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However, the reality is that it would just not be feasible. These two are so great because they are the supreme alphas of the NBA. Coexisting would minimize both their talents. Resentment would creep in. It just could not be possible.