The parallels between Michael Jordan and LeBron James are well-documented and while their NBA careers will be remembered differently in time — their legacies as basketball icons have already been cemented beyond a shred of doubt.
With that in mind, we thought it’d be fun to take a look at four career milestones Michael and LeBron share in common and examine the sneakers they wore while making on-court history.
First All-Star Appearance
MJ: Jordan made the first of his 14 NBA All-Star appearances at the 1985 NBA All-Star Game in Indianapolis. He made the starting lineup as a rookie alongside fellow basketball legends like Larry Byrd and Isiah Thomas. Wearing his iconic Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” sneaker, he registered seven points in 22 minutes of playing time.
LeBron: James debuted as an NBA All-Star at the 2005 NBA All-Star Game in Denver and was also named to the starting lineup alongside all-time greats like Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson. He recorded 13 points in 31 minutes of playing time while sporting a PE pair of the Nike Zoom LeBron 2 in grey and white.
MJ: Jordan won his first NBA championship at the 1991 NBA Finals when his Chicago Bulls defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in a 4-1 series. Averaging 31.2 points a game with 11.4 assists and 6.6 rebounds, he also earned his first NBA Finals MVP Award that year as well. He wore his signature Air Jordan 6 “Infrared” sneakers while capturing his first of six NBA championships.
LeBron: After joining the Big Three along with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh as a member of the Miami Heat (which some people are still bitter about), James won his first NBA championship at the 2012 NBA Finals in a 4-1 series victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder and earned his first NBA Finals MVP Award. He wore a white, black-metallic and gold pair of LeBron 9 Elites when he earned his first ring.
Most Points in a Single Game
MJ: On March 28, 1990, Jordan notched a career-high 69 points in a 117-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. You’d think he held that record since he is generally considered the greatest basketball player of all-time, but that honour belongs to Wilt Chamberlain and his 100 points as a member of the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962. Regardless, Jordan’s 69-point career high speaks to his uncanny consistency and he wore the Air Jordan 3 “Fire Red” during his historic night.
LeBron: James took a page out of Future’s playbook and notched his career-high 61 points in a single game while having his mask on — you know, after breaking his nose and all that. Though it wasn’t the iconic black mask we all love, he still managed to make the Charlotte Bobcats look pretty bad (even though they did that to themselves enough) with a big 124-107 victory over the now-defunct franchise on March 3, 2014. He wore a Miami Heat PE pair of Nike Zoom Soldier VIIs in the white and red home team colours.
MJ: Jordan will forever be remembered as a Chicago Bulls legend, but he actually hit one of his biggest career milestones later on as a member of the Washington Wizards. He achieved this feat on January 4, 2002, at the age of 38, which seems somewhat shocking at first until you consider how many seasons he collectively missed playing retirement peek-a-boo. Ironically enough, the team he reached 30,000 points against was the Bulls and he did so in a white, college blue and black pair of Air Jordan 17s.
LeBron: This might be the only milestone category in which James looks more impressive than Jordan. He became only the seventh player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 114-102 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on January 23, 2018. At 33, James is also the youngest player to ever join the 30,000-point club and of course hit his mark in style while rocking a PE pair of Nike LeBron 15s in a beautiful burgundy colourway.