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Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan almost became teammates with the Philadelphia 76ers

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Philadelphia 76er Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving was seen as a prequel to Michael Jordan. The Doctor was indeed a unique player who brought the artistry of dunking and leaping ability to a whole different level. However, before the draft in 1984, Sixers owner Harold Katz was thinking about trading Julius to Chicago for the rights for the third draft pick.

“I thought I had a deal with (then Bulls owner) Jonathon Kovler of the Bulls for the third pick. Rod Thorn (Bulls then-GM) killed that one and took Michael Jordan. I would have made that deal.“

At the time, Erving had come off a season in which he averaged 22.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.8 blocks per game under a more balanced Sixers offense. If he were the lone star on the Bulls, those numbers could quickly shoot up.

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However, the Bulls didn’t make that deal. Dr. J would bring a lot of excitement and would still be productive for Chicago, but at that time, his best days were behind him. Just imagine what could have been if MJ and Sir Charles were on the same team from the start. They were good friends despite being on different sides, but putting them together would almost ensure that they would be the closest of friends from the get-go.

Don’t forget, at that time; the Sixers also had Moses Malone in his prime at the center, Maurice Cheeks, at the point. Jones was still their defensive specialist, and Toney was their experienced shooting guard who could have provided great MJ with mentorship.

That team would cause problems for Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics. The Sixers lost to the Celtics 4-1 in the Eastern Conference. It’s quite unfortunate for the Sixers fans that MJ would eventually play for Chicago Bulls, where he won 6 championships and is by many considered the GOAT by all standards.

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