The Lakers star said he thought Jordan "lived in the TV" when he first met the Chicago Bulls star as a high school sophomore
The 39-year-old basketball star, a sophomore in high school when he first met the Chicago Bulls legend, said he "literally couldn't believe it" when Jordan, 60, was right in front of him during a new episode of UNINTERRUPTED's After Party podcast.
"When I met Michael Jordan for the first time, I literally couldn't believe it was him. The dude looked like Jesus Christ to me. He was Black Jesus to me," James said on the show.
The Lakers star explained that he was in Chicago with Maverick Carter, James' close friend and manager since 2006 when he met his basketball hero.
"Nobody told me that Mike lifted before he played," James recalled, adding that as a high school sophomore, he didn't know "anything about lifting" at the time. "We walk up there, and the first person I see is Charles Oakley."
James said he first "dapped up" Oakley, a fellow Cleveland native who was known for his stellar play with the New York Knicks during his 19 years in the NBA. "Then Oak moved, and when he moves, Mike is sitting on the bench press," he continued.
"I was like, 'Oh my f---ing God," James said. "I didn’t think it was real, man. You don't understand. I didn’t think Michael Jordan was real. I only thought he lived in the TV. When I saw him, I was like, if the man above would have taken me that day, I would’ve lived a hell of a life, I swear to God."
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) January 24, 2024
James obviously went on to become a superstar just like Jordan — he became the NBA's all-time leading scorer last February — after meeting the Bulls legend.
James remained such a fan of Jordan's throughout The Last Dance subject's playing career that he cried when Jordan announced his retirement in 1993. Jordan would return to the league in 1995, but a young James was still left emotional at the thought of Jordan's departure.
The HBO documentary dove into one of the most significant points of Jordan's life — when he announced his sudden retirement from the NBA following the murder of his father, James Jordan, in 1993. The revelation came just a short time after the star won his third straight championship with the Bulls.
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While watching the series, James shared how emotional the moment was for him in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"Definitely cried this day. 9 years of age," James, 35, tweeted on Sunday night during the broadcast. "Just Couldn’t believe it."
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