LeBron James is an athletic phenomenon. But Jordan Crawford once dunked all over him so bad that Nike pulled all footage of that incident.
Back in 2009, LeBron James was already considered to be a top-2 basketball player in the world. He’d already won his first MVP trophy at the age of 24, while also having led the Cavs to the 2007 NBA Finals.
If one wanted to see James at his athletic peak, this window would probably be the best time to do so. James was pulling off unreal athletic dunks and blocks like it was nothing, even against quality NBA opposition.
Remember when LeBron James got dunked on by Jordan Crawford and Nike confiscated the tapes in 2009? Here it is. pic.twitter.com/6d9PK4e0iX
— ThrowbackHoops (@ThrowbackHoops) June 17, 2019
James had also finished 2nd in Defensive Player of the Year voting to Superman Dwight Howard that year. The King was commonly viewed as one of the elite perimeter defenders in the league with the likes of Tony Allen. This particular highlight reel play, therefore, came as a shock to practically every viewer in the building.
When Jordan Crawford dunked on LeBron James in the summer of 2009
James was clearly Nike’s no. 1 priority on the basketball side of things even back in 2009. This was evidenced by how the LeBron James Skills Camp was the go-to destination for high school and college players.
Jordan Crawford, a 20-year-old sophomore at the time, had also turned up for this. He got a chance to play LeBron in an open run, and the result was one of the most emphatic practice dunks ever. You have to see it to understand just how tough that play was.
Now, for whatever reason, Nike decided they couldn’t have clips of their signature player getting posterized out there. They apparently made a concerted effort to delete all footage of this dunk.
They were obviously unsuccessful in their attempts, and this whole thing became a PR nightmare for LeBron’s camp. Years later, after going to China, Crawford would still remember the moment with fondness:
“I didn’t think it was a big deal until I got back to my room that night and people who weren’t even there were already hitting me on my phone.”