“LeBron James is the closest thing to Magic Johnson because of everything he can do”: When Pat Riley drew comparisons between The King and his pick for the “GOAT”

Advait Jajodia
|Published May 17, 2022

After calling Magic Johnson “the greatest player of all time”, Pat Riley went on to draw comparisons between the former Lakers legend and LeBron James.

The GOAT debate is one of the long-lasting conversations in any sport. In basketball, fans around the world have various picks for this coveted title, however, two players have been dominating this debate for quite some time now – LeBron James and Michael Jordan.

According to Hall-Of-Fame coach Pat Riley, neither of these two legends is the GOAT. Back in 2017, Riley named Magic Johnson, a player who he coached for almost a decade during his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, as his pick for the “greatest player of all time.”

Also Read: The King reveals his favorite book is a bestseller by Paulo Coelho

In the same interview, Pat drew comparisons between his GOAT and LeBron.

 “Same mold, same DNA, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson are both winners”: Pat Riley

Riley then went on to call LBJ the “closest thing to Johnson”. The current President of the Miami Heat further said:

“LeBron is the closest thing to [Johnson] that we’ve ever seen because of his size, his speed, his acceleration, his vision—everything that he can do,” Riley said. “[James] just had more pressure on him to have to score all the time. He has a mentality of being a scorer. [Johnson] could’ve scored 30 points a game if he wanted to. And we could’ve won.”

“He [Johnson] didn’t have to score because of Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] and James [Worthy] and everyone else we had,” Riley said. “He was a winner.”

“LeBron is a winner. But the way that LeBron plays the game now — coast to coast, handles the ball, runs the offense — it’s just like Earvin. I mean, same mold. Same DNA. They’re winners.”

Also Read: When Magic Johnson named the Celtics legend as the “greatest he ever played against”

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About the author

Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia

A 20-year-old with a BBA degree specializing in marketing, Advait Jajodia is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush and a passionate basketball enthusiast. Advait has been immersed in the world of basketball since picking up a basketball at the age of 9. Excelling as a two-time national-level player, specifically as a point guard during the Golden State Warriors' dominant era, he draws inspiration from the electrifying style of Stephen Curry. Beyond the NBA, Advait finds joy in playing various sports, exploring intriguing conspiracy theories, and boosting his 2K rating to 99. He also holds admiration for athletes like Rafael Nadal, Virat Kohli, and Phil Foden, recognizing their exceptional skills.

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