Magic Johnson believes that while Michael Jordan was too great a force to be contained, his peak Showtime Lakers would run the Bulls out of town.
Magic Johnson was one of the most revolutionary players in the history of basketball. Standing at nearly 6’9″, the forward-sized point guard orchestrated the most entertaining offensive basketball teams ever.
Magic would be at his best while running the break alongside a horde of willing runners and cutters. High-fliers like James Worthy, Byron Scott, and Michael Cooper complemented him perfectly on the wing.
Kareem and Magic combined to win 8 championships and make 8 NBA Finals in a 10-year stretch together. Most NBA fans consider them to be the greatest one-two punch in the game, though Kobe and Shaq would probably like a word.
Add another Hall of Famer like James Worthy and exemplary role players like Bob McAdoo, Michael Cooper and Byron Scott, and you get the mantra for a dynasty that’s right there with the greatest in basketball history.
Magic Johnson says Michael Jordan and his Bulls would come up short against his peak Lakers teams
Jordan and Magic met each other only once in the NBA playoffs. This was at the very end of the Lakers legend’s run with the Showtime crew, 2 years after Kareem’s retirement.
Jordan’s Bulls emerged as runaway winners that year. But it was clear that they’d caught the Lakers on the tail end of their fairytale run. Magic believes that his mid-80s Lakers teams were better in a vacuum than Jordan’s Bulls.
The 62-year-old laid out his line of reasoning in a recent interview, arguing that the Bulls were over-reliant on MJ:
“Sometimes the Bulls rely on Michael too much. What I was saying is, if you get me in foul trouble and get Michael in foul trouble and take us both out, you’d see what would happen. Our team would dominate them, I mean who’s going to stop Kareem? We had so many more weapons.”
“No question Michael would’ve scored 50 on us or 50 on anybody else because he’s just a great basketball player. But I think we would’ve held everybody else down.”