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Magic agrees with Jordan: 'That's not what we were about'

Jul 20, 2010, 11:20 PM EDT

magic-johnson.jpgTimes are different.

LeBron is teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Michael Jordan said the other day he wouldn’t have done that, he wanted to beat Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, not partner with them. Not everyone — including our own Ira Winderman — buys that.

But Magic Johnson said he agrees with Jordan.

“We didn’t think about it ’cause that’s not what we were about,” Johnson said at Baruch College in New York, according to Bloomberg News. “From college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird.”

Let’s also be fair here — Magic didn’t have to.

He was drafted onto a team with Kareem Abdul Jabbar near the peak of his powers, one of the greatest centers and offensive weapons ever to play the game. That team also had sharp-shooter Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon and Michael Cooper among others. Pretty soon the Lakers added guys like Bob McAdoo and a few years later drafted James Worthy (thanks to a steal of a trade).

Magic didn’t need to join forces, he was drafted into a powerhouse lineup. Bird had McHale and Parrish. Jordan was not alone — Scotty Pippen and a host of perfectly complimentary role players.

Nobody wins a title alone. You can debate if you want whether LeBron should have waited in Cleveland for them to build a roster around him, but nobody — not Magic or Bird or Jordan — would have won a title with the rosters LeBron has had.

231 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Jet - Jul 20, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    I totally disagree micheal Jordan would’ve definitely won a title with the team lebron had especially when they picked up shaq

  2. David - Jul 20, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    Those two can’t really judge LeBron given the talent that they got to play with.
    Had Jordan and Magic played 7 years without another true all star, their tune might be very different.
    Almost every NBA title team in history has had two or three hall of famers.
    LeBron did nothing wrong by getting himself the same quality help that Magic, Bird, and Jordan had in their careers.
    It’s odd to me how people are ok with superteams being formed through the draft or trades…. but not free agency.

  3. Max - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    Queen James will never be the equal of Scottie Pippen.

  4. Max - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    Queen James will never be the equal of Scottie Pippen.

  5. David - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:06 AM

    You’re right, LeBron won’t be Pippen’s equal because he’s clearly already far superior to Pippen to anyone who knows anything about basketball.

  6. Matt - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:21 AM

    People don’t mention that Lebron’s team was by far and away the most dominant team over the course of the last two regular seasons and then imploded in the playoffs. Lebron has to take a large portion of the blame for this. Yes, he had some good if not even great games in the playoffs but at times he surrended meekly, deferred to others too much and seemed distracted. If MJ had been on teams that had managed to win 60+ games in both seasons I am sure he wouldn’t have surrended as easily (irrespective of what personnel he had on the court). Lebron also has to give some credit to the Cavaliers, they did bring in some pieces, and perhaps with another season to gel may have gotten over the line. Even when MJ’s teams were eliminated early in his career, you almost had to kill him to end his season, Can everyone say this is the same as what happened for Lebron?

  7. Moose - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    LB is now and will go down in history as the Greatest Player of all time in the NBA, until someone tops him. He would have kicked Scotties skinny ass, and would have been up to par against MJ.

  8. David k - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    MJ would have definitely won a championship with the team lebron had last year theres no comparasion between the two Jordan was on a completely different level. I think D Wade would have won a championship last year if he was on the cavs hes a better winner than lebron

  9. Dirk Simmons - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    I have consistently said that I was okay with Lebron’s decision from a basketball point of view. That was clearly the best situation, although I think he would have saved face if he had picked the Bulls. On the other hand, I respect that Michael wanted to beat Magic and others and probably would have respected Lebron if he had decided he wanted to beat these guys instead of joining them.
    And David….Jordan did go 7 years without a championship. He went to the Eastern Conference Finals in years 5 and 6, but still was without a championship. I’m not sure what his tune would have been, but the guy has 6 championships, so it’s hard to speculate.
    And as far as people being okay with superteams formed through the draft and trades, but not free agency….It just seems like a more “pure” way to build. Any team can just buy guys off, but it takes more skill, it would seem, if you could do it without needing to do that. However, that logic isn’t necessarily full-proof. The Redskins are usually the example everyone gives for building a team strictly through free agency. Yeah, that hasn’t worked, but what about the Yankees? Don’t they do the same thing? In any case, I would love it if my teams could build through the draft and trades, but I’m a slut for winning. Do whatever you have to do.

  10. CC - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    Pippen is still shaking in his boots at the thought of having to deal with the X-man (Xavier McDaniels).No way he would ever be happy knowing he had to come in and deal with a 6’8 240 freight train named Lebron James. Scottie was great don’t get me wrong but his heart was always questionable. He was exposed when MJ left and it should have become his team instead it became Kucoch’s team and Scottie pouted and left.

  11. LAFan - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    Moose, I’m sorry, what has LBJ won yet? Let him win something of consequence before we compare him to MJ or even Kobe for that matter. He isn’t even the best player on his new team. At least Wade won a championship. Yes, I realize he had Shaq. No one wins a championship with a team full of scrubs. You need at least 2.5 all-stars to win in the NBA. He certainly has the best chance at a title now but as I said before, he hasn’t won anything yet so lets back off on the greatest ever…call me when he wins 5.

  12. dylan - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    I don’t think so Jet. The Cavs only had a chance because LeBron’s presence turned his teammates into exceptional players. Jordan could not control the floor and create plays for every teammate on the roster.. If Jordan was on that team with any of the rosters from the past few seasons with MIKE BROWN as the coach they’d be in the same spot. I know, it’s so hypothetical..and Jordan’s the fk’n man.. but I disagree w/that

  13. Bay - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:58 AM

    Everybody keeps saying that Jordan was bashing LeBron. Gimme a break! the reporter ASKED HIM a couple questions that he then answered, including saying that he knew things are different now. I have very little respect for many journalists because they are very hypocritical and tend to make mountains out of mole hills, misquoting (see D wade), and reading between the lines and filling in the blanks. I have about as much respect for that profession as i do for lawyers or bankers. It’s gotten to be a joke.

  14. SarahTonin - Jul 21, 2010 at 12:58 AM

    Jet .. I think you may be failing to take into account that Shaq is not the player now that he was. I sat courtside when Jordan played with the Bulls and I sat courtside near the end of the last season with LeBron and the Cavs and LeBron not only didn’t have the team but he didn’t have the coach and that was perhaps the biggest factor!

  15. luffy - Jul 21, 2010 at 1:06 AM

    Oh please gimme a Fu_k_ng break Miami fans… If MJ or Kobe had the Cavs Roster last season, and especially w/Shaq as the center, they would’ve won against Boston or even the Lakers. LBJ got no heart, pls. stop comparing him to the great ones, he ain’t worth it…
    Williams, Kobe/MJ, Moon, Hickson, Shaq…
    Bench = West, Parker, Jamison, Varejao, Big Z…
    WTF are you talkin’about people, clearly this is a good line-up…

  16. cygnus-x1 - Jul 21, 2010 at 1:22 AM

    you can debate that all you want but why won’t anybody aknowledge the fact the cavs are not the ones at fault for not surrounding james with a sidekick superstar.where was the concern for only winning when he signed his last contact for max dollars and for only 3 years?the team they surrounded him with was good enough to win 60 or more games the last 2 years and took him to the finals.were yjey not supposed to resign any of those guys?and they were supposed to resign for cheap when lebron wouldn’t?face it they were a good team he just wasn’t good enough to put them over the top.hey he had every right to do what he did but I am sick of him trying to look like some martyr for taking less money and trying to make it like cleveland did not do anything to help him.

  17. Capya - Jul 21, 2010 at 1:39 AM

    Honestly Kurt, the mindless defense of LBJ continues… to claim that “nobody — not Magic or Bird or Jordan — would have won a title with the rosters LeBron has had” is completely ridiculous.
    That roster was able to put together the best regular season record in the league for two years in a row. Obviously they had the talent to win, but lacked something, be it drive, motivation, or coaching.

  18. Moose - Jul 21, 2010 at 1:41 AM

    LA Fan,
    You guyz are the most superficial fans in the world. Kobe is one of the most selfish players in NBA history. He won’t provide an assist because he wants his precious points. He owes his titles to Shaq and Great Coaching. LB is a totally unselfish player and wants to lift the level of his team mates. And he does!! He’s only 24 and will win at least 5 titles in his NBA career. Why??? Because he is the Greatest Physical speciman to ever play the sport, and he is unselfish. It takes a team to win, and he will win AT LEAST 5 NBA titles, beginning next year.
    The world DOES NOT revolve around Southern California so move forward buddy.
    You kidz in LA are so clueless outside of your own little bubble and have no idea what the rest of the world understands.
    Good Luck with figuring it out “LA Fan”

  19. matt - Jul 21, 2010 at 2:20 AM

    This post is ridiculous on multiple levels.
    1. Kobe owes his titles to Shaq, but Lebron won’t owe his to Wade and Bosh if they win several together? Kobe was a top 4 player in the league for the latter of the two championships with Shaq. Lebron and Wade are also both top 4 players at this point. The coaching argument is more reasonable, but it’s silly to claim that LA didn’t deserve their last 5 championships (or Chicago their six) just because Phil coached them.
    2. Selfishness… who cares? Jordan was selfish. Wilt was selfish. Shaq was selfish. That doesn’t inherently make you inferior. Lebron is an amazing passer, but making that the criteria for greatness is arbitrary. Also, the media circus he’s orchestrated surrounding his plans for this summer over the past three years is arguably pretty selfish.
    3. “he will win AT LEAST 5 titles beginning next year” followed by “you kidz are so clueless”… This is just funny. Also, physique = 5 championships automatically and best player ever? Athleticism is only one part of what makes a great player. It takes hard work and dedication to improving skills to be deserving of being in that conversation, something Lebron seems to lack.
    4. Have you purchased the #6 Heat jersey yet to replace the #23 Cleveland jersey in your wardrobe?

  20. matt2 - Jul 21, 2010 at 2:27 AM

    Sorry to double post, but I wanted to clarify that I’m not the same Matt that posted earlier on this page. Sorry for the confusion.

  21. Dirk Simmons - Jul 21, 2010 at 2:31 AM

    It was never Kukoc’s team. And yes, I see that you are referencing that one shot Phil let Toni take in the Eastern Conference finals, but during his prime in the NBA, Pippen was clearly among the elite. Likely the Top 10. And since you’re questioning Pippen’s prowess, might I add Pippen was on the all-defensive team 7 times. And is there any player that enjoys guarding Lebron? No way. I was just as hurt as anyone when Pippen sat on the bench during that shot, but his motives have too often been called into question. His decision has only been magnified since Kukoc hit the shot. What if Kukoc had not hit the shot? Might we be questioning Phil?

  22. luffy - Jul 21, 2010 at 2:35 AM

    Stupid comment, clearly a Kobe hater and a loser…
    Don’t you think that maybe LBJ should’ve been selfish instead of playing safe? I think if he did that, they would’ve won the championship. You know why he didn’t do it? Coz he got no heart and no killer instinct like what Kobe and MJ has. Sometimes superstars have to be selfish to win dumbass, yes the guy wants to score coz he wants to win!

  23. sheed - Jul 21, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    Why do some ppl keep mentioning that in Cleveland LeBron was alone? Antwan Jamison is a great player with with six 20+ pt. scoring seasons in his career. Add on top of that a 19.6, 19.7, 19.6, & 19.8 scoring seasons. That’s ten seasons where he avg. 19+ points per game. They also had Shaq (though I bit old I do admit) and Mo Williams (three seasons of 17+ pts per game in his young career), an up-n-coming J.J. Hickson, Varejao, and Ilgauskas.
    Jordan in his first 7 seasons in the NBA had absolutely nobody. Best he had was a young Scottie, who up until that time his best season was only 17.8 pts per game. Back in ’91, no way Jordan could predict w/ certainty that he was gonna end up being a star.
    On top of that, the Cavs showed they were more than willing to add more stars to the team. You folks are short sighted in the fact that LeBron’s career won’t go past this season. They always tried hard to add another superstar next to him, so Bosh personally chose not to go there, big deal! There are more summers with more super star free agents, LeBron’s career goes past this year.

  24. southsidewaze - Jul 21, 2010 at 2:48 AM

    Pippen critics, you have no idea how good he was. He could do anything Jordon did athletically, but accepted Michael as the leader. Jackson taught Pippen to sacrifice the self for the betterment of the team. Jordon had more ego and Pippen accepted it. He did incredible stuff, especially on defense. In the 94 finals v. the Lakers, Pippen shut down Magic and the Lakers never got their offense going. In a 95 conference finals game v. the Ewing Knicks, Pippen and Jordon scored 80 points, 40 each. He came within an eyelash of knocking out the first Kobe-Shaq champions with a crappy Portland team nowhere near as good as the Bulls. Kobe has never won 72 games, Lebron never will, Magic or Bird never did. It happened because the combo of Jordon-Pippen was the best ever.

  25. Moose - Jul 21, 2010 at 2:55 AM

    LB will credit his team mates when they win the NBA title. As any Great Team Mate will do.
    LB has produced numbers over the last 4 yrs that Kobe will NEVER put up. Because HE CAN’T!!! That’s 28 pts, 7 boards and 7 assists per game. Kobe is too selfish. LB has a good chance of putting up a triple-double per game next season, for the first time since Oscar did it in the 60’s. That’s a tough challenge, but if anyone in the NBA has a good chance, it is LB.
    Time will tell how many titles he wins. Enjoy the ride.
    Regarding purchasing Jerseys?? I’ve never needed to do that because I won a State Championship in High School and jerseys had nothing to do with it.
    I’m NOT a wannabe!!
    Peace Bro

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