Magic Johnson shares a similar sentiment to Jeff Van Gundy as he claims Michael Jordan will soften up his opponents, beat them, and then laugh with them later.
Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson have quite the storied history with one another over the course of both their careers. Of course, perhaps the most famous instance of them sharing the court together would be in Johnson’s later years as his Lakers would face off against the Chicago bulls in the 1991 NBA Finals, marking it Chicago’s first time in the Finals.
Though Magic didn’t particularly have an outstanding series against the Bulls as they were gentlemen swept, it was the first championship that Michael Jordan brought to the city of Chicago. Following this, they would bond more with another at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, forming an older brother-younger brother type, competitive relationship.
After having battled one another for a decade or so, Magic Johnson got a fair shake on how the Bulls shooting guard operated and his breakdown was eerily similar to what Jeff Van Gundy would go on to say.
Magic Johnson on Michael Jordan.
Magic seemed to have caught on quite early on with what Michael Jordan was trying to do when out on the court. Now, this isn’t to say the ‘GOAT’ was purposefully making fake friendships to give guys like Ewing, Barkley, Magic, and so on, a false sense of safety, but the latter of those and JVG seem to think so.
About a year before JVG would infamously suggest Jordan was a con-man, Magic Johnson said this:
“He’ll laugh and smile with you, just like he did in shootaround with me and say, ‘What’s up my boy, yeah, yeah,’. He’s trying to soften you up. He’s going to kill you. See, then he’s going to smile and laugh with you after the game. See, Michael is like that. That’s why you almost can’t beat him.”
This comment by Johnson is eerily similar to what Van Gundy would have to say about Michael Jordan a year later, upon taking up the Knicks head coaching job.