Magic Johnson still claims that the Chicago Bulls all-time great shooting guard Michael Jordan is on top in the GOAT debate over LeBron James.
A constant discussion that definitely raged on throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic-induced NBA season hiatus over the last couple months, especially in the midst of the release of the 10-part documentary series “The Last Dance”, is who is the true GOAT. The two players considered in that discussion are the Chicago Bulls all-time great shooting guard Michael Jordan and the Los Angeles Lakers veteran superstar forward LeBron James.
That aforementioned 10-part ESPN/ABC/Netflix docuseries The Last Dance definitely shined a bright spotlight for the current generation of what Jordan brought to the table for that title-winning 1997-98 Bulls team. Most of all, it shined a light on all of the great things that Jordan did on the court for those great dynasty Bulls teams of the 1990’s.
One player that got to see early on what Jordan was going to turn into was the Lakers legendary Hall-of-Fame point guard Magic Johnson. In fact, the first NBA Championship that Jordan nabbed with the Bulls was against Magic and the Lakers in the 1991 finals.
Magic recently gave his thoughts on the GOAT debate between LeBron and MJ in a segment with ESPN. Here’s what he had to say on this subject.
"“First of all, let’s not take anything away from LeBron James,” Johnson said. “Because LeBron James is a great basketball player, one of the all-time greatest that’s ever played the game. LeBron James to me, when you think about all-around basketball players, he’s probably the best of all time. An all-around basketball player. But when you want to say ‘who’s the greatest ever’ it’s still Michael Jordan.”While Johnson currently has Jordan ranked ahead of James on his own all-time list, he did leave the door open for James to potentially pass Jordan down the road, as James is still in the midst of his playing days.“LeBron James’ chapter is not closed yet,” Johnson added. “He still has some basketball to play, so maybe he has a chance to catch [Jordan] later on if he can get some more championships under his belt. But at the end of the day, they’re both great and they play they game the right way. They made their teammates better, they won championships, and thank god for LeBron because right now that’s what we’re watching. It’s his time. It’s his era, and he’s dominating his era.”"
Magic apparently still believes that Jordan is the greatest NBA player of all-time, despite showing some love to LeBron and all he’s done during his lengthy and accomplished career. Jordan does still have twice as many NBA Championships as LeBron, and never lost in any finals series. That is usually the argument that goes in Jordan’s favor.
If this season resumes anytime soon with the playoffs then LeBron and the Lakers will be vying for the title. The Lakers will be one of the title favorites this year, if and when the season resumes. They will be competing with the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, etc., to determine who this year’s NBA Champions will be.
But while the COVID-19 pandemic essentially put the sports world on a pause, basketball fans got a nostalgic look back at how great Jordan was for all of those dynasty Bulls teams. Even if some of the NBA fans that were watching The Last Dance were too young to witness Jordan during his playing days, they got to see what he brought to the table during the release of this hit docuseries.
Depending on how the rest of LeBron’s career unfolds, Jordan should still hold the edge in the GOAT debate. There is a chance that LeBron could get a few more rings with the Lakers, especially with superstar big man Anthony Davis as his teammate, but getting three more will be a difficult feat.