Charles Oakley arrived in the NBA right about the same time as the great Michael Jordan. Oakley joined the Chicago Bulls in 1985, which was a year after they drafted MJ as the No. 3 overall pick. These two clicked instantly, and despite their brief time together as teammates, the pair formed quite a bond both on and off the court. Nevertheless, Oakley himself recently confessed that he would still much rather be teammates with Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James than his “best friend” Michael Jordan.
In a recent guesting on Kevin Garnett's podcast, Oakley explained why he's picking LeBron over MJ in terms of being on the same side:
“They asked me, ‘Who'd you rather play with, LeBron or Mike?' I said, LeBron, but Mike my best friend,” Oakley said. “Mike ain't passing me the ball. He don't care if I get a shot today or tomorrow. But, you know, that's how he got to be Mike.”
To be clear, Oakley isn't throwing any shade on Jordan here. As a matter of fact, the 59-year-old has learned to accept the fact that this is just who Michael Jordan is. He's looking out for himself too, though, which is why he'd much rather be teammates with LeBron, who he knows is a pass-first kinda guy. MJ, on the other hand, isn't exactly the type.
Charles Oakley also made it abundantly clear that LeBron James and Michael Jordan are two different players. Given that he played with MJ, Oakley is often faced with the question of who the greater player is. He's not buying in on the GOAT debate, though, as Oakley appreciates just how special both superstars are to the game of basketball.