The biggest NBA argument today regards the chances of LeBron James passing Michael Jordan to become the best basketball player of all time. Jordan holds the unofficial crown following an iconic career that peaked in the 90s. The Chicago Bulls having two separate three-peat dynasties in between Jordan’s short retirement made it clear that he was the biggest star in the history of the sport. Jordan not only won the big games, but he did it impressive fashion. The flashy style of highlight dunks, fancy dribbling and game-winning buzzer beating shots made Jordan unlike anyone else in sports history.
Fast forward two decades later and LeBron is doing similar things. James has half as many NBA Championship rings with three to Jordan’s six. However, LeBron has done more than Jordan in other respects. James dominates the game in a way Jordan was never able to by making his teammates significantly better. Everyone on the court is a threat at all times thanks to the passing of LeBron. The career of James is still going meaning he has time to add more accolades before his career ends.
Unfortunately, both legends had teammates that things went poorly with. We’ll take a look at some of the players that didn’t enjoy being on the same squad as these two legends. This list will consist of eight players that didn’t like teaming with LeBron James and another eight that didn’t like teaming with Michael Jordan.
16. LeBron: Kyrie Irving
The shocking offseason earlier this year featured Kyrie Irving requesting a trade away from the Cleveland Cavaliers. One of the main reasons LeBron James left the Miami Heat to return to the Cavaliers in 2014 was the desire to play with Irving. Both men worked well together and brought an NBA Championship home to Cleveland. LeBron had the iconic block and Kyrie hit the game-winner in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
Irving however was sick and tired of playing second fiddle to James. The reasoning for Irving forcing his way out of Cleveland was the hope of fulfilling his full potential elsewhere. Cavaliers’ management traded Kyrie to the Boston Celtics and he already looks like a better player stepping up to become a leader. Irving and James reportedly had some personal drama between the two to cause the relationship to deteriorate towards the end of the run.
15. Jordan: Kwame Brown
The teammate to form the worst relationship with Michael Jordan ended up being viewed as the biggest criticism used against the legend. Jordan selected Kwame Brown out of high school as the top overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft for the Washington Wizards. The return to the court for Jordan would see him team with the kid he viewed as a future Superstar.
Jordan quickly realized Brown didn’t have the ability to get where he wanted and the pick looked like an instant bust. Brown was insulted harshly by Jordan in practice every single day. Jordan cursed out Brown thinking it would toughen him up and make him step up to show his talent. Instead, Brown continued to sink and it made things worse. Jordan bullying a teenager in practice certainly was one of his worst moments.
14. LeBron: Mario Chalmers
The Miami Heat had to find the right pieces to place around their big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Mario Chalmers would get the starting spot as the point guard of the team. While he was the point guard, the job of Chalmers was essentially to hit wide open three-pointers and play hard defense. The big three, especially James, treated Chalmers as a little brother often yelling at him in front of the sold out arenas and national television cameras.
Chalmers didn’t appreciate the way LeBron would embarrass him more than the other veterans. A comment from Mario the season after James left the Heat saw him take a shot at his former teammate. Chalmers refused to reference James by name calling him “that guy” to leave them. The claims of Chalmers were that Miami would still be great and he’d improve his game without LeBron. Neither of those things was true.
13. Jordan: Richard Hamilton
Michael Jordan’s decision to come out of retirement to join the Washington Wizards did nothing but hurt his reputation as a player, basketball mind and human being. The Wizards named Jordan as their President and he returned to the court to try to help the team. One of his most talented teammates was fellow shooting guard Richard Hamilton.
Most fans remember Hamilton for his role helping the Detroit Pistons win an NBA Championship. Hamilton ended up in Detroit due to Jordan thinking he was worthless as an NBA player in Washington. The two had zero chemistry and butted heads on the court. Jordan went as far as to tell Hamilton that he wasn’t good enough to wear Jordan sneakers when Rip asked about a shoe deal. Hamilton won this war as he proved to be a very good player and Jordan failed horribly in Washington.
12. LeBron: David Blatt
David Blatt was the coach of LeBron James, but they were equals at best when it came to running the Cleveland Cavaliers. The record of Blatt saw the Cavaliers as the best team in the Eastern Conference in 2016 when the organization shockingly fired him. Cleveland replaced him with then assistant coach Tyronn Lue and they won the 2016 NBA Championship.
Very few people could figure out what rational the Cavaliers had for firing Blatt. The team was playing well and had the best record in the conference on pace to make the finals. LeBron reportedly made his voice known and was the main reason for Blatt getting the boot. The star power and influence James has made him the most important man in the organization. Blatt didn’t mesh well with LeBron which led to him losing his job.
11. Jordan: Rodney McCray
The name Rodney McCray doesn’t deliver many memories to NBA fans unless you remember his history with Michael Jordan. McCray had a few good seasons that convinced the Chicago Bulls to sign him for the 1992-1993 season. Jordan developed a dislike for McCray in practice enough to make the newcomer a target. McCray became the constant victim of Jordan’s abuse in practice.
Jordan continuously referred to McCray as a “loser” any time he had a bad play or made a mistake. It completely killed McCray’s confidence and he underperformed to only get less than 15 minutes of playing time per game. McCray actually decided to retire after this season of torture. Jordan clearly was the main reason McCray realized he didn’t need the sport anymore at the young age of 32.
10. LeBron: Shaquille O’Neal
Most fans forget that Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James actually teamed together for a season. The second to last season of Shaq’s career was spent with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. O’Neal no longer was a Superstar, but he was able to contribute in small spurts. There is a mutual respect between LeBron and Shaq that still exists today. However, the big man didn’t like how James would use his power over the coach.
Mike Brown was the coach of the Cavaliers at this time. O’Neal had respect for Brown that caused him to dislike teaming with James. According to Shaq’s book about his NBA career, Brown wasn’t able to truly run the team due to the organization fearing LeBron leaving in free agency. O’Neal believes the coach being stifled by James hurt the Cavaliers chance at winning a ring that season.
9. Jordan: Isiah Thomas
No, Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan were never on the same NBA team. However, they teamed together on various All-Star teams in the Eastern Conference. Both Jordan and Thomas were fixtures in the All-Star game in the late 80s and early 90s. The intense rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons saw them try to destroy each other in the postseason for many years.
Their disdain for each other apparently carried over to the All-Star team. Rumors indicated that Thomas wouldn’t pass the ball to Jordan at certain times when there were open shots to be made. Jordan remembered this in 1992 when the USA Men’s Basketball team was being assembled as the infamous Dream Team. Thomas was the one top star of the time snubbed due to Jordan refusing to team with him.
8. LeBron: Antawn Jamison
Antawn Jamison was one of the most underrated players in the NBA before joining the Cleveland Cavaliers at the trade deadline in 2010. Jamison averaged between 19 and 23 points nine out of his eleven seasons before joining the Cavaliers. The hope of Jamison was to finally contend for an NBA Championship and improve his legacy with LeBron James.
Cleveland would get eliminated in the second round and James left in the offseason for Miami. Jamison was upset at losing his chance at contending for more titles. An interview saw Jamison claim he felt blindsided at the decision of LeBron to join the Heat. Jamison’s career went downhill playing for the atrocious Cavaliers without James and his career quietly ended. You have to wonder how things would have gone if LeBron stayed with him in Cleveland.
7. Jordan: Stacey King
Stacey King is one of the Chicago Bulls teammates to feel the wrath of Michael Jordan. The potential of King would never be fulfilled as he failed to get much playing time. Chicago’s game plan of the time was to stockpile many big men to play center and power forward. Most of their guys would split time just playing hard-nosed basketball as Jordan and Scottie Pippen did the heavy lifting.
There were reports of King being insulted by Jordan quite often in practice for not being tough enough in the paint. Jordan wanted his big men to deliver hard fouls. King did contribute one time a funny moment by claiming he and Jordan combined for 70 points in a single game the night Jordan scored 69. Now working as a color commentator for the Bulls, King blasted Jordan a few years ago for sitting in his Charlotte Hornets suite to start the game and only coming to the courtside seat when they were up big.
6. LeBron: Ricky Davis
LeBron James and Ricky Davis only spent a few months on the same team, but they clearly didn’t get along. Davis was the best talent on a woeful Cleveland Cavaliers roster until LeBron was drafted with the first overall pick in 2003. Cleveland wanted to use James’ rookie season to give him the time to progress by learning on the fly.
Davis however refused to give up the ball as he averaged over 14 shots per game. An interview before the season saw Davis take a few shots at James and everyone believing he would magically fix the organization. The Cavaliers traded Davis within a few months and LeBron won Rookie of the Year en route to a legendary career. James recently shared a video of Davis and other former teammates talking trash him as the king now gets the last laugh.
5. Jordan: Bill Cartwright
Michael Jordan showed no mercy when it came to his hatred of teammate Bill Cartwright on the Chicago Bulls. The decision of the organization to replace Charles Oakley with Cartwright did not sit well with Jordan. Oakley was considered Jordan’s favorite teammate and he wasn’t happy about Cartwright taking his spot. Jordan roasted Cartwright in practice with insults every day.
One of the insults of choice by Jordan saw him call Cartwright “Medical Bill” referring to his various injuries. NBA personalities accused Jordan of intentionally throwing bad passes to Cartwright in an attempt to make him look bad for having weak hands. Cartwright won three NBA Championship rings with the Bulls in the early 90s but clearly hated having to deal with Jordan’s harassment.
4. LeBron: Dion Waiters
The Cleveland Cavaliers had a couple of young talent that was among the top picked rookies of their respective drafts when LeBron James returned to the team in 2014. Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson remained on the roster long enough to help contribute to the 2016 NBA Championship. Dion Waiters was an odd man out as he clashed with James style of play.
The strength of Waiters comes from reckless scoring, which is something that just doesn’t fly on an offense run by the unselfish James. Cleveland traded Waiters a few months into the first season teaming with LeBron to Oklahoma City in a three-team deal that landed them J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. Waiters showed no love to James after the trade by going out of his way to let the media know that he has zero contact with LeBron.
3. Jordan: Will Perdue
Horace Grant revealed one of the most shocking stories regarding Michael Jordan and another Chicago Bulls teammate. A radio host asked Grant if Jordan only picked on the smaller and weaker players in the league as the ones he would attempt to intimidate. Jordan was not afraid of anyone as he went after seven foot tall teammate Will Perdue in practice.
Perdue ran an illegal pick on Jordan when the roster was split into two teams. Jordan responded by going right after Perdue and punching him in the face multiple times. Perdue didn’t hit back as no one wants to attack the teammate carrying you to victory. Grant claimed that Perdue sported a black eye for days after the incident. The kicker is that Jordan started demanding Perdue set those hard picks in games against the other teams after that.
2. LeBron: Delonte West
One of the more controversial names linked to LeBron James throughout his career is Delonte West. The mediocre guard achieved most of his success thanks to James’ superb play carrying him. West and James seemed to have a falling out in their final season together before LeBron moved to the Miami Heat in the offseason.
A rumor started circulating that Delonte entered a romantic relationship with James’ mother and they both refused to tell him. The story goes that LeBron cut all ties with West following this. Regardless of if the story involving James’ mother happened or not, James and West clearly had hostility between them for years. West posted a message on his social media page blasting LeBron for needing All-Stars to help him win and basically threatened the icon saying to never speak about him again.
1. Jordan: Dennis Rodman
Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman always worked well together on the court during the second Chicago Bulls dynasty between 1996 and 1998. The work ethic and commitment of Jordan to be the absolute best is what drove him to the top of the sports world. Rodman was a polar opposite that would be described as a free spirit in between games.
The antics of Rodman off the court saw him miss practice and show little respect to the work that goes into a team. At one point, Rodman even no-showed practice during the NBA Finals to appear on an episode of WCW’s wrestling show. Rodman has confirmed that Jordan used to get him on early on before understanding they were different. Despite bringing three rings together to Chicago, Rodman and Jordan never spoke to each other outside of the games they played in together.
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