Larry Hughes was not just one of the solid ballers of his time, he is also one of the luckiest NBA players ever. In his 12-year NBA career, Hughes had a chance to don the same jersey as Michael Jordan and LeBron James — two players who are at the forefront of these endless GOAT debates.
In an interview with Hoops Hype, Hughes pointed out the major difference between Jordan and James speaking to their teammates. Both of them want to push everyone to the limit. But Jordan and James had very different approaches.
“Bron would talk trash and make comments in a joking fashion, but MJ had this way of being really aggressive with the trash talk and really using body language and everything to really get his point across. He seemed to be serious, but he may or may not have been. Maybe he was just trying to pull those things out of his teammates and out of his peers. But he just had this way about him you to really understand that he was the greatest,” Hughes said.
Note that Hughes was teammates with Jordan in the 2002-03 NBA season — MJ’s final year. Perhaps Hughes already had a good idea of how Jordan would act around him and the Wizards crew. Even though social media wasn’t around during those years, the NBA circles are pretty small. Hughes had probably heard some scary stories about Jordan’s imperial ways. Hughes was also in his fifth year in the league then. He was not some rookie who was trying to find his way in the league. He already knew demanding the league could be.
On the flip side of the coin, Hughes was teammates with LeBron from the 2005-06 season to half of the 2007-08 season. James was just in his third year then. However, he was already perceived as one of the team's leaders. It is pretty interesting how a 21-year-old James was trying to establish his authority — albeit discreetly — to a squad filled with grown men.
Hughes' story proves that there is not a single way to push your teammates to do their very best. Jordan’s aggressive style worked for him during his stint in Chicago. But, according to several interviews, James is still passive-aggressive in his ways today, pretty much like how he was around Hughes.
It all boils down to connecting to your teammates at an intimate level. The likes of Jordan and James belong in the same class because they could squeeze out their teammates' potential and get them to perform on their best level.