THROWBACK: When Three NBA Legends Picked Magic Johnson Over Michael Jordan

Published 08/29/2021, 11:48 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS – MAY 05: Hall of fame NBA player Michael Jordan looks on during the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya during their WBC super welterweight championship fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena May 5, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather defeated De La Hoya by split decision. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


Michael Jordan is one of the most successful NBA players of all time. He has been a constant in the GOAT debate for more than two decades. There’s no getting away from the LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan GOAT debate. However, three former NBA stars picked Magic Johnson over Michael Jordan.

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Michael Jordan won six NBA championships in his career, all with the Chicago Bulls. The six titles were a part of two three-peats. Magic Johnson won five NBA championships in his 13-year-old NBA career. Johnson spent his entire NBA career with Los Angeles Lakers and announced retirement in 1991.

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 05: Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson delivers a keynote address at Global Gaming Expo on October 5, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Global Gaming Expo)

Three NBA legends picked Magic Johnson over Michael Jordan

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An old video has resurfaced on YouTube, in which, Steve Smith, Chris Webber, and Shaquille O’Neal picked Magic Johnson over Jordan and Larry Bird.

“No way I’m going against Magic,” Chris Webber said.

“Magic to me and the history of the game is one of the best leaders from what you’ve seen in getting people energized, getting the crowd energized,” he added.

After Chris Webber, former Atlanta Hawks star Steve Smith shared his thoughts on picking one player between Magic, Jordan, and Bird.

“If I had to pick because I started my team always with a center and a point guard,” Smith said after Webber.

“If I’m going to start my guy with a team with a point guard or center I have to go with Magic Johnson,” Smith added.

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“It would have to be Magic Johnson because if you look at the traditional point guard they have always been not small but smaller. Magic was the first oversized guy that excelled at being a point guard,” Shaquille O’Neal said.

Magic Johnson won five NBA championships in his career and was the Finals MVP on three occasions. He is a 12-time All-Star which includes ten consecutive appearances. Magic’s jersey number 32 was retired by Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, he is a 10-time NBA champion. Five times as a player and five times as an executive.

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Michael Jordan, however, hasn’t won any championships as an owner/executive. He is the majority owner of Charlotte Hornets.

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Abhishek Singh

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