Chad Ochocinco reveals he beat a prime LeBron James in a game of 1-on-1 up to 21

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver Chad Ochocinco recently said that he beat Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James in a one-on-one.

“I got a real good story about LeBron, too,” Ochocinco told Shannon Sharpe on an episode of Nightcap. “When he was with the Heat, we played one-on-one at the YMCA. We played to 21. I beat him 21-17.”

Ochocinco played 11 seasons in the NFL, including 10 as a member of the Bengals franchise. Arguably his best season in the NFL came during the 2006 season. The 6-foot-1 wide receiver led the entire league in receiving yards (1,369) and receiving yards per game (85.6) in 16 games played with the Bengals during the regular season.

Ochocinco earned a Pro Bowl nod for the monster receiving numbers he put up that season.

Interestingly, after spending the first 10 seasons of his NFL career with the Bengals, Ochocinco spent his 11th and final season in the NFL playing for the New England Patriots. He clearly wasn’t the same player he was earlier in his career with the Bengals at that point, though, seeing as how he totaled just 276 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown in 15 appearances with New England during the 2011 regular season.

Meanwhile, James has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Lakers during his 20 seasons in the NBA. During the 2022-23 regular season, he averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game in 55 appearances with the storied Lakers franchise (54 starts).

Arguably James’ best season in the NBA came during the 2007-08 season when he was a member of the Cavaliers franchise. The forward averaged a league-best 30.0 points to go along with 7.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks per game in 75 games with the Cavaliers during the regular season. Also, James converted 48.4 percent of his field-goal attempts and 31.5 percent of his 3-point attempts that season.

It seems unlikely that Ochocinco is telling the truth about beating James in a one-on-one. After all, for as great of an athlete as Ochocinco was, James was arguably in the prime of his career and the best player in the NBA when he was playing for the Heat.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.