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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. southsidewaze - Jul 21, 2010 at 2:55 AM

    Corrections, 91 Finals v. Lakers, 92 Conference Finals v. Knicks. Lakers 1st Kobe title was 2002? when they went to 7 games v. Portland.

  2. sheed - Jul 21, 2010 at 3:27 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.

  3. sheed - Jul 21, 2010 at 3:37 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.

  4. sheed - Jul 21, 2010 at 3:38 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 much past this year.

  5. luffy - Jul 21, 2010 at 3:51 AM

    You have got to be us kidding dude?! Good for you then…
    You won a state championship, so you should be the one to understand more the concept of competition that Magic and MJ are talking about. Or if ever you’re telling the truth, I’m guessing you’re a bench player…
    Again, stop comparing LBJ to the great ones, with him going to Miami, yes it’s his choice and I agree that it’s he’s right but the move that he made shows that he ain’t great, no heart and not competitive as the great ones…
    Peace waterboy…

  6. luffy - Jul 21, 2010 at 3:54 AM

    I mean “it’s his right” sorry for the typo…

  7. romulus03 - Jul 21, 2010 at 4:27 AM

    Nobody wins championships alone….this is true. Lebron came close by getting to the finals, and then gave up. His mind was made up long ago that he was leaving cleveland. Instead of using that star power to hold a press conference( what a joke) about where he would play next, he should have tried to persuade management, other free agents to come to cleveland, even if he needed to take a paycut to do so. As far as the magic/bird/jordan thing. when magic and bird got drafted by their respective teams, they were already in the championship hunt with all-star/good players already. When jordan got drafted, where was his all-star/good player? when magic and bird were playing for championships, jordan was the bulls.. until pippen and crew came into their own. look how long it took mj to win his first championship. And again, how do you come close to the pinnacle and walk away? Lebron didn’t want to go through the growing pains. It was his right to go wherever he pleased though.

  8. Cribbs16 - Jul 21, 2010 at 5:16 AM

    I disagree Kurt Helin you are not educated enough apparently to know that Lebron James had a championship caliber team around him to not win just one title – but multiple championships. Lets be honest here do you think Cleveland would have rid themselves of Coach Mike Brown had they not visited different situations on getting Lebron James to stay – I think not he was a great coach. Secondly, Jordan where were you prior to Lebron making that decision yes he is a grown man but surely you could have impacted his decision same with Magic way to speak up after the fact. The important thing to remember here is he made a business decision he’ll live with the guilt of leaving his fans and he’ll win a championship, or two, or three but it won’t be the same as winning it on his own with his team and his city.

  9. Cribbs16 - Jul 21, 2010 at 5:17 AM

    I disagree Kurt Helin you are not educated enough apparently to know that Lebron James had a championship caliber team around him to not win just one title – but multiple championships. Lets be honest here do you think Cleveland would have rid themselves of Coach Mike Brown had they not visited different situations on getting Lebron James to stay – I think not he was a great coach. Secondly, Jordan where were you prior to Lebron making that decision yes he is a grown man but surely you could have impacted his decision same with Magic way to speak up after the fact. The important thing to remember here is he made a business decision he’ll live with the guilt of leaving his fans and he’ll win a championship, or two, or three but it won’t be the same as winning it on his own with his team and his city.

  10. Cribbs16 - Jul 21, 2010 at 5:19 AM

    I disagree Kurt Helin you are not educated enough apparently to know that Lebron James had a championship caliber team around him to not win just one title – but multiple championships. Lets be honest here do you think Cleveland would have rid themselves of Coach Mike Brown had they not visited different situations on getting Lebron James to stay – I think not he was a great coach. Secondly, Jordan where were you prior to Lebron making that decision yes he is a grown man but surely you could have impacted his decision same with Magic way to speak up after the fact. The important thing to remember here is he made a business decision he’ll live with the guilt of leaving his fans and he’ll win a championship, or two, or three but it won’t be the same as winning it on his own with his team and his city.

  11. luffy - Jul 21, 2010 at 5:22 AM

    Yeah agreed, it’s his right. Now even if he wins a championship he’s never gonna be considered great, well could be for Miami fans. I wonder how LBJ is feeling right now, with the superstars looking down on him? whhhhaattt a loser. let’s wait for Larry Bird’s comment, i bet he has something to say too…

  12. bob - Jul 21, 2010 at 5:57 AM

    Now you are going a little too far… LBJ has a lot to prove before you can compare him to MJ. MJ has six rings… let’s see how he does in Miami. He is definitely the best the NBA has to offer after Kobe, but he still hasn’t made the players around him play beyond expectations. That is where MJ, Magic, and Byrd all excelled.

  13. ray ray - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:26 AM

    So, why didn’t Magic want to beat Kareem? Why go to the same team? Besides, this coming from a guy who owns the team with arguably best market in the league, who stated at the end of the 7th game. “Thanks to Jerry Buss for putting the best product on the floor.”
    Come’on (by the way, read the article below).
    “I remember being drafted by the Minnesota Lakers and thinking, ‘I don’t want to go somewhere cold,’ ” said the Lakers’ legend and leader, Jerry West. “Then I was in Rome, Italy, playing in the Olympics and I read that the Lakers had moved to L.A. I can’t tell you how happy I was.”
    Nor could David Stern, off in Alaska, no doubt celebrating his league’s latest stroke of marketing fortune: another Laker franchise center, another colorful superstar having escaped from small-market prison.]
    This is business!!!
    http://www.nytimes.com/1996/07/19/sports/sports-of-the-times-shaq-is-now-california-dreamin.html

  14. Anonymous - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:41 AM

    ‘Queen James’–:) I like.
    Some players make the other players around them even better, and I think Michael, Magic, and Larry Bird were those kinds of players. Michael, esp., might well have won with the cast that Lebron left…people seem to have forgotten that along with MJ’s talent, he had an extraordinary work ethic that LBJ does not possess. That attribute might have been the tipping hand towards a champ. ring.

  15. Nick - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:49 AM

    Magic speaks the obvious.
    Only Miami parasites like the LBJ deal.
    LeBron will ALWAYS be a quitter

  16. Nick - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:51 AM

    P.S. Ira Winderman was wrong…again.
    Typical Miami apologist

  17. terry - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:56 AM

    The three of them teaming up – “in my day” – this is a unique set of circumstances. Neither Magic, Bird or MJ would have even thought of doing it in those days because they couldn’t.
    Now circumstances have changed, times have changed – Bosh, James and Wade played the PRESENT system to a T, with the willing help – aka collusion – of Pat Riley.
    Here’s hoping it blows up in their faces.
    LBJ has amazing pure physical talent. What he does NOT have is the cojones to take over a game when necessary. Bosh is pretty much the same. IMO of the three Wade is the one who DOES have the cojones.
    Remember that between the three of them there are 21 NBA SEASONS AND ONLY ONE RING, which Wade won in 2006 when he took over in the finals against Dallas – which Dallas has never gotten over. Wade was THE MAN on that team and Shaq knew it, even though Wade deferred to Shaq when it was necessary.
    On both the L.A. team and the Miami team Shaq was NOT THE MAN – he was a sidekick. For L.A. Kobe was and remains THE MAN. For Miami Wade remains THE MAN. He now has some serious talent beside him.
    Magic, Bird and MJ ALL had the cojones – that is what they were most famous for.

  18. bull's fan inMA - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:59 AM

    Excuses,excuses excuses…LBJ had enough weapons to win 65 and 61 reg season games but he was playing with abunch of bums when they got to the playoffs? BS. if the Cavs had won a championship the media would be talking about how good Mo,Shaq,Varejo, Jamison and Parker had complimented LBj’s game. Jordan’s teams won championships in the same yrs they had 60+ reg season wins. The Cavs got outcoached,outdefended and outplayed as a team by the Celtics when it mattered, and the Cavs have only themselves to blame for losing. Stop making excuses for LBJ’s failure in Cleveland.

  19. george - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:08 AM

    No way Jordon wins anything with that Cleveland bunch of scrubs. Jordon didn’t win anything until he had Pippin. And the thugs he played with should have been thrown in jail. Kite and Rodman were there to inflict injuries on opposing players. And, Jordan was allowed to carry the ball…….refs never called walking on him although he clearly carried. Jordon was extremely talented but that team was also given a free pass. Wade, Lebron, Bosh earned the right to play where they wanted. They fulfilled their contracts and chose where they wanted to play. I don’t get why everyone is upset. It seemed perfectly ok for them to choose to play together as long as they chose Chicago or New York.

  20. steve - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:27 AM

    Either Jordan or Magic would have won this year in Cleveland. Two things: unlike Lebron, they know how to elevate their game when it matters. Second, they genuinely make their teammates better. Think about Paxton, and Kerr – they made 3 pointers because they were wide open. I used to sit in awe, how could anyone leave those great shooters so wide open? They had to guard Jordan! Magic did play on a great team, but when they needed ledership, he stepped into the gap and led his team (from year one).
    Lebron disappeared this year in the playoffs when his team had a great shot. I watched Shaq play pretty effectively for this time in his career. LBJ had some great shooters around him, he had a team that got the best regular season record. Magic would have mopped up the Celtics with that team. Jordan would have done the same.

  21. Nick - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:39 AM

    When Lebron wins as many titles as Pippen did then you can say that, but Lebron has everything yet to prove to be considered a great. Everyone has already anointed him King, but he has yet to lead anyone anywhere.

  22. Nick - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:45 AM

    How can you say that? He hasn’t done anything yet. He is a passer first and a scorer second. That is his nature. He does not have that drive and leadership capability. That is why he went to someone else’s team instead of people coming to his team. He may be a very good player, but how can you say his is the greatest player ever?

  23. steve - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    By the way, does anyone remember the record of the Celtics the year before Bird was drafted compared with the year after he joined the Celtics. 78-79 Celts were 29-53 and didn’t make the playoffs. 79-80 Celts were 61-21 went to the Easter Conference Finals-next year they won it all. Don’t tell me that Bird came on a ready-made team. He made that team great and man, when there was a shot to be made, as a Lakers fan, I hated to see the ball in Bird’s hands. He was amazing. Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kobe – don’t even put LBJ in the conversation until he learns how to win. Moose, you keep saying he’ll win next year, you remind me of the Michelle Wie fans who kept saying, she’s going to dominate women’s golf and then move on to the men. You can dream all you want and I hope you enjoy your dreams, but until the man steps up and does something, he has done nothing. There are Lots of good players in NBA history who couldn’t produce when it counted – I think LBJ will go down as the best in that category.

  24. george - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    No way Jordon wins anything with that Cleveland bunch of scrubs. Jordon didn’t win anything until he had Pippin. And the thugs he played with should have been thrown in jail. Kite and Rodman were there to inflict injuries on opposing players. And, Jordan was allowed to carry the ball…….refs never called walking on him although he clearly carried. Jordon was extremely talented but that team was also given a free pass. Wade, Lebron, Bosh earned the right to play where they wanted. They fulfilled their contracts and chose where they wanted to play. I don’t get why everyone is upset. It seemed perfectly ok for them to choose to play together as long as they chose Chicago or New York.

  25. crow 820 - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:50 AM

    how true

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