The NBA has had many exceptional talents, and while the GOAT debate has centered around Michael Jordan and LeBron James, Magic Johnson is getting his deserved respect.
With the NBA celebrating its top 75 players to commemorate Year 75 on Sunday, the debates about who should have made the list and rankings have been revisited. On ESPN’s “First Take,” analyst Stephen A. Smith was asked who is on his NBA Mount Rushmore and said:
“The first three choices are easy for me. I’ve selokan Michael Jordan. I think he’s the greatest of all time. I’ve selokan LeBron James. I think he’s No. 2 of all time. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won in high school, won in college, went to the pros, ended up being a six-time champion, a six-time league MVP, a 19-time All-Star and the all-time leading scorer in NBA history with over 38,000 points.
“I thought about (Bill) Russell. I thought about the era that he played in and how it was just Wilt Chamberlain, and … he’s the all-time champion with 11 rings. Thought about Kobe (Bryant). For me, it was Magic Johnson. And here’s why: Magic Johnson is the greatest point guard in the history of basketball.
“Magic Johnson made the NBA transcendent. It was him that helped Kareem. (James) Worthy, Byron Scott, Norm Nixson before that, Michael Cooper coming off the bench. Magic was just a show. He made the NBA marketable. And if it were not for Magic, what would MJ have had? What would he have had to inherit?”
Former NBA player Jay Williams agreed with Smith on James, MJ, and Magic, but he had Kobe Bryant over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Magic Johnson is arguably the greatest point guard in league history
Magic Johnson had an outstanding career, even though he had to retire earlier than he would have liked because of health concerns. The 6-foot-9 point guard was a terror on both ends of the floor. Not only did he know how to score, but he is one of the best assist providers in league history.
What made his style of play more intriguing was his showmanship. He led the Showtime Lakers, who won five championships with their up-tempo, flashy style.
Johnson finished his career with 12 All-Star appearances, a four-time assists champ, a two-time steals champ, a three-time Finals MVP and a three-time league MVP. He is also the youngest player to win the Finals MVP award, winning it in his rookie season at 20.