Long regarded as the best to ever grace the hardwood, Michael Jordan has served as the gold standard for countless players who both came up short or did reach the NBA. Among those, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are two who didn’t wilt from comparisons and high expectations.
As James looks to usher the Los Angeles Lakers back into championship contention, the 16-year veteran is looking to add to an already-impressive résumé. As the debate over who the greatest player of all-time rages on, James has regularly praised Bryant and Jordan.
Like Bryant and others before him, he admired and viewed Jordan as a role model. James had the opportunity to meet him while still in high school and before truly exploding onto the scene at St. Vincent-St. Mary.
Ahead of the Lakers facing Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets, James reflected on their first encounter, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“It was godly,” James said. “I’ve said that over and over before, but it was like meeting God for the first time. That’s what I felt like as a 16-year-old kid when I met MJ.”
Jordan hasn’t always been one of James’ most ardent supporters, at one point touting Bryant as the superior player because of his five championships. Jordan did come to James’ defense after President Donald Trump sent a critical tweet.