I feel almost honored to put this comparison in writing. One of the most acclaimed legends of yesteryear, former Laker Earvin “Magic” Johnson revolutionized the position of point guard. Standing a gargantuan 6 foot 9 and weighing in at 255 pounds, Magic was the true first point forward. He possessed the ball-handling skills, court vision and passing ability of a point guard, while being able to stroke the jimmy from anywhere on the court like a two guard, to having the size to mix it up in the post at either forward position. To today’s fans, does that sound familiar? It should.
LeBron James is the Magic Johnson of this generation, in several ways. First, his size. At 6 foot 8, 250 pounds, he is the only player since Magic to be such a dynamic point forward. He is the best player in the game today, and I dare say he has more explosive scoring ability than Magic did. The only difference is Magic was a true point guard even with his size, where James regularly lines up at different positions on the court. He is able to create a mismatch no matter what position he plays. But the similarities between these guys are eerie. There’s not many ballers who can do what Magic did then, and there’s certainly nobody who can do what LeBron does now. I used to be a LeBron hater pretty much for no reason, but I am proud to say I put my bias aside. I am a witness.
I don’t think I have to sit here and bore everyone rattling off accolades, but just to get a feel for the greatness of these hardwood bad asses, I will. I also don’t like to ignore readers who adore everything about the wonderful world of numberdom (that’s not a real word, jabronies). Keep in mind that LBJ’s career is not over, so his impending championships won’t be taken into account. Without further ado, let’s do some math.
King James’ Royal Achievements: 2x League MVP, R.O.T.Y., 8x All-Star, 5x All-NBA First Team, 3x All-Defensive First Team.
Magic Johnson’s Show: 5x NBA Champion, 3x League MVP, 12x All-Star, 9x All-NBA First Team.
As you can see, Magic won five NBA Championships, outside of that I am making a bold assumption that LeBron surpasses Johnson in most of these categories by the time he hangs up his sneakers. Just because people are swiggin’ the Haterade on LeBron does not dismiss how great he is, and how great he is going to be as he enters his prime years.
Off the court, both of these guys have been the center of media attention, and for different reasons. Magic for when he shocked the world and announced he had contracted the HIV virus in 1991, and retired shortly thereafter. LeBron for pompously airing his own hour-long special to announce he was bailing on the Cavs to sign with the Heat in 2010. In today’s game, on and off the court, I firmly believe it true that nobody can hang with LeBron overall. He is simply one of the mose polarizing and recognizable athletes in the world. In Magic’s era, he shared the spotlight with Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, but had his career not been cut short we don’t know what else he may have accomplished. He truly was a magician, hence the nickname. It’s not like he walked in one day and said “hey guys, call me Magic from now on.” He earned the title of Magic, as LeBron has earned the nickname of King (although my personal fave is The Akron Hammer!).
For fear of hate mail, I am not going to announce some type of winner in this comparison. The rest of LeBron’s legacy is yet to be written. I didn’t set out to claim one better than the other, but to point out that these two are once in a lifetime players. There’s a reason there hasn’t been a guy like Magic besides LeBron, normally guys who are as big as linebackers can’t run the point like Oscar Robertson while still being able to score from any spot on the floor. It’s just ridiculous to have that type of athleticism and size, while still being extremely polarizing figures off the court.
For those of you who reside in caves, here’s a couple videos putting on display the unmatched skills of Magic and LeBron with the pumpkin in their hands: