Skip to content

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. John - Jul 21, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    It’s “complementary”, not “complimentary”.

  2. doug - Jul 21, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    Those pesky facts again. Jordan won nothing with those people. He needed a real team to win. Look at his championship rosters.

  3. Gary Pearson - Jul 21, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    LB is hardly the best player who ever played BB now or in the future period. There are lots of players present and past that are his equal or better.

  4. hertagnism - Jul 21, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    Kurt,
    I’ve followed since your FB&G days. However I have to disagree with you on the fact that Magic & Bird were drafted into powerhouse lineups. They were talented, no doubt, but it was Magic & Bird who brought them along and made them the powerhouses they are remembered for today. After all, before Magic, the Lakers (even with the MVP at the time) only topped 50 wins once in the five years preceding and the Celtics were dwindling down in wins and sank to 29 wins before Bird came on board.
    As per the argument regarding how nobody could take that Cleveland team to the championship, I believe it is an indication of LeBron’s leadership style. A conditioning of the fun loving style LeBron had during the regular season made it so that the entire roster would not be as mentally prepared when the postseason comes. If we take a look at Magic’s, Bird’s, and even Jordan’s leadership styles, we remember that they took the game very seriously and that conditioned the rest of their teammates to know that this is not just a game and that this is a war.

  5. butch j. - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    THESE ARE AMAZING TOPICS EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT, AS FOR CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS, KOBE WOULD HAVE WON 2 TROPHIES WITH LEBRON’S CAST OF THE LAST 2 YEARS, THIS GUY IS A REALLY GOOD PLAYER BUT HE IS NAT IN THE CLASS OF GREATNESS YET, MAY NEVER BGET THERE, HE’S NOT HUNGRY ENOUGH AND MAY NEED TO BE A SECOND BANANA TO WIN A RING. I’LL BE WATCHING

  6. JohnnyB - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    “Magic agrees with Jordan: That’s not what we were about” Of course you were not Magic. You also were not any better than Lebron James either. MJ was the best player ever. Magic v Bird was arguably the best rivalry ever. But that doesn’t mean that LBJ, DW, CB and the cast of others on the Heat won’t become the best team ever if they pull this off. I Lived in Chicago for all 6 of the Bulls championships. I live in Boston now. But I was there when MJ played on a team with talent comparable to Lebron’s Cav’s at the beginning of his career. They were exciting to watch but losers all the way (Brad Sellers, Orlando Woolridge, Dave Corzine, Quentin Dailey, Gene Banks, John Paxson et al). In many ways several of those players were more talented than anyone else on the Cavaliers. Yet Lebron had his team competing at the highest level of play. They even got to the East Conference finals, before barely losing to Orlando. And they had no one but LBJ! While the early Bulls all grumbled while MJ took 35-40 shots a game, while scoring 35 points per game, LBJ’s teams were winning “big time” every year!
    My point is this. Jordan, Bird, Magic, and Barkly are not directly bashing LBJ. But they are insinuating that he is less competitive than them. That, my friends is pure unadulterated BS. It was easy for Magic and Bird to win titles right away when they were dropped right into championship teams as rookies that were already dynasty grade squads. Drop LBJ into either the Lakers or Celtics with players like (Lakers with Magic) Kareem Jabbar, Norm Nixon, Mychal Thompson, Jamaal Wilkes, Bob Mcadoo, James Worthy, Byron Scot, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, (Celtics with Bird) Kevin McHale, Bob Parish, Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Bill Walton, Cedric Maxwell, M.L Carr, and he likely would be heading for his 8th championship in a row. And Barkly had Dr. J, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney, Mo Cheeks, Doug Collins, Bobby Jones to take all of the heat off of him. Just imagine LBJ with that team! People forget that Dr. J was a perennial playoff loser with the great George McGinnis until they got Moses malone in the mix. And he came over from the NJ Nets to get his ring. Wilt Chamberlain had to skeedaddle to LA to join Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor and Gail Goodrich to get his. Give LBJ Pippen, Cartwright, Rodman, Stacey King, Ron Harper (a perennial all star with Cleveland), Horace Grant, Brian Williams, Toni Kukoc, Bj Armstrong and how many titles do you think he would have won right out of the box?
    Most people, especially old generation players like Magic, are being totally unfair with LBJ. If Miami wins it all. It’s D Wade’s team and his BIG. If Miami loses. It’s LBJ’s fault and his BAD. That is total BS & not right. I admire all three of those guys for deciding to do it their own way. Not magic’s way. Not MJ’s way. Not Bird’s way. And Barkley never won anything but games. I will enjoy watching the 3 amigo’s on their quest. I have not been as excited about the NBA since Jordan was in Chi-Town! And the league now has a recipe for some dramatic/titanic playoff collisions. For example; Miami will have their hands full, up to their eyeballs with the Lakers, Chicago, Celtics, Orlando, Atlanta and Milwaukee in the East. And when emerging juggernauts in OKC and Portland come of age; Look out. Portland will be blistering good if they can stay away from injuries in that jinxed arena. And Kevin Durant is the real second coming of Dr. J with MJ quickness and ball handling skills.
    So my advice is to stop whining & complaining about LBJ and those 2 guys and just enjoy the grand theater. It won’t be easy for them. The NBA is now tougher because of this development. But Miami is now talented enough to pull this off. And as for the Cavaliers/Gilbert? He had his shot! For 7 years he surrounded LBJ with marginal talent. He could have done the K. Garnett & R. Allen deal 3 years ago and won at least 2-3 titles by now with LBJ. He let Carlos Boozer get away after LBJ’s rookie season. WHo knows what would have happened if he had paid Boozer and kept them together. He is just a hack owner who continues to get out hustled by better organizations and smarter people.

  7. JohnnyB - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    “Magic agrees with Jordan: That’s not what we were about” Of course you were not Magic. You also were not any better than Lebron James either. MJ was the best player ever. Magic v Bird was arguably the best rivalry ever. But that doesn’t mean that LBJ, DW, CB and the cast of others on the Heat won’t become the best team ever if they pull this off. I Lived in Chicago for all 6 of the Bulls championships. I live in Boston now. But I was there when MJ played on a team with talent comparable to Lebron’s Cav’s at the beginning of his career. They were exciting to watch but losers all the way (Brad Sellers, Orlando Woolridge, Dave Corzine, Quentin Dailey, Gene Banks, John Paxson et al). In many ways several of those players were more talented than anyone else on the Cavaliers. Yet Lebron had his team competing at the highest level of play. They even got to the East Conference finals, before barely losing to Orlando. And they had no one but LBJ! While the early Bulls all grumbled while MJ took 35-40 shots a game, while scoring 35 points per game, LBJ’s teams were winning “big time” every year!
    My point is this. Jordan, Bird, Magic, and Barkly are not directly bashing LBJ. But they are insinuating that he is less competitive than them. That, my friends is pure unadulterated BS. It was easy for Magic and Bird to win titles right away when they were dropped right into championship teams as rookies that were already dynasty grade squads. Drop LBJ into either the Lakers or Celtics with players like (Lakers with Magic) Kareem Jabbar, Norm Nixon, Mychal Thompson, Jamaal Wilkes, Bob Mcadoo, James Worthy, Byron Scot, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, (Celtics with Bird) Kevin McHale, Bob Parish, Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Bill Walton, Cedric Maxwell, M.L Carr, and he likely would be heading for his 8th championship in a row. And Barkly had Dr. J, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney, Mo Cheeks, Doug Collins, Bobby Jones to take all of the heat off of him. Just imagine LBJ with that team! People forget that Dr. J was a perennial playoff loser with the great George McGinnis until they got Moses malone in the mix. And he came over from the NJ Nets to get his ring. Wilt Chamberlain had to skeedaddle to LA to join Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor and Gail Goodrich to get his. Give LBJ Pippen, Cartwright, Rodman, Stacey King, Ron Harper (a perennial all star with Cleveland), Horace Grant, Brian Williams, Toni Kukoc, Bj Armstrong and how many titles do you think he would have won right out of the box?
    Most people, especially old generation players like Magic, are being totally unfair with LBJ. If Miami wins it all. It’s D Wade’s team and his BIG. If Miami loses. It’s LBJ’s fault and his BAD. That is total BS & not right. I admire all three of those guys for deciding to do it their own way. Not magic’s way. Not MJ’s way. Not Bird’s way. And Barkley never won anything but games. I will enjoy watching the 3 amigo’s on their quest. I have not been as excited about the NBA since Jordan was in Chi-Town! And the league now has a recipe for some dramatic/titanic playoff collisions. For example; Miami will have their hands full, up to their eyeballs with the Lakers, Chicago, Celtics, Orlando, Atlanta and Milwaukee in the East. And when emerging juggernauts in OKC and Portland come of age; Look out. Portland will be blistering good if they can stay away from injuries in that jinxed arena. And Kevin Durant is the real second coming of Dr. J with MJ quickness and ball handling skills.
    So my advice is to stop whining & complaining about LBJ and those 2 guys and just enjoy the grand theater. It won’t be easy for them. The NBA is now tougher because of this development. But Miami is now talented enough to pull this off. And as for the Cavaliers/Gilbert? He had his shot! For 7 years he surrounded LBJ with marginal talent. He could have done the K. Garnett & R. Allen deal 3 years ago and won at least 2-3 titles by now with LBJ. He let Carlos Boozer get away after LBJ’s rookie season. WHo knows what would have happened if he had paid Boozer and kept them together. He is just a hack owner who continues to get out hustled by better organizations and smarter people.

  8. ADP - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    MOOSE,
    YOU ARE A BONAFIDE IDIOT!

  9. nick - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    Kobe would not have won a ring with the Cavs roster. He almost screwed it up for the Lakers roster, let alone the Cavs (6/24 shooting in game 7?? Had the Lakers lost, it would have been viewed as one of the worst playoff performances in history – he was lucky he had Artest and Gasol to bail him out).
    The fact remains: Artest, Odom, Gasol, and even Bynum (although he played injured) are all much better players than any of the Cavs roster players. The only guy who maybe compared was Antawn Jamison, but he simply didn’t have enough time to fit in. Even Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Derrik Fisher would have had shots at starting on the Cavs (mo williams was always way overrated and a poor clutch performer, and I’d take shannon brown over delonte west anyday).
    Same goes with the Celtics. Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Perkins, Garnett – hell, even Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, and Big Baby would probably start on the Cavs.
    I’m not even going to start with the 1980’s Celtics or the 1980’s Lakers. Truth is, I dont think the Bulls were ever that good without MJ, but MJ was on a different level than any of the previously mentioned players.
    But the fact remains – the Cavs 2010 roster (evidently the best Cavs roster in 7 years) was simply not championship calibre. James seemed disinterested in the team against the Celtics, but he wouldn’t have been able to win anyways. He was putting up trible-double figures every night, and still his team was soundly beaten. When Kobe was shooting poorly, he had so many options to give the ball to, he didn’t know what to do with himself (he ended up shooting anyways). Who are you going to give the ball to on the Cavs? Big-Z? Verajao? West? Shaq? – They gave the ball to Mo Williams who disappeared again in the playoffs, and Shaq, who plays well every 3 games but whose defense is a huge liability.
    I can only wish Jamison had more time with the Cavs, but he was never in the flow of things. Parker is not anything more than a 3pt shooter, and Jamario Moon – I wont even talk about him.

  10. Unitoo - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Six rings on Pippens fingers. James none.
    When James has 6 rings, start the comparison.

  11. RL - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    Magic, Jordan, Bird, were great players, who fortunately had great owners, coaching, and teams surrounding them. No one has won an NBA Championship, without a talented team. Not even Bill Russell ! We all realize now that Kobe does not win ring number 5, without Gasol, Artest, etc. If Magic and Jordan think they did it alone, then they have become even more confused with age than we knew.

  12. Cordae - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    dammit Kurt i LIKE YOU! FINALLY! you sounded so smart at the end!

  13. wally - Jul 21, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    You’re dreaming. Who is the equivalent of Scottie Pippen on the Cavs now. How about Horace Grant or Dennis Rodman?
    Scottie Pippen was an NBA All Second team and NBA All Defensive firt team player. Rodman was an NBA All Defensive first team player.
    4 out the 6 times the Bulls won the championship, Scottie Pippen averaged 20 pt, 6-7 ast and rebounds a game during the playoffs. The Bulls had Horace Grant or Toni Kukoc as reliable third scorer averaging 13-15 pts a game.
    The problem with the Cavs is that Lebron had to be MJ and Scottie Pippen. People want to claim Lebron quit, but he lead the team in minutes, ppg, apg, rpg, blg, spg in the playoffs. In game 5 against Boston, the Cas lost by 32 pts with 6 different Celtics scoring in double figures. People don’t expect him to be MJ they expect him to be more than MJ.
    Look at the Cavs and tell me how this team (minus Lebron) is better than the vast majority of the teams (minus their best player)that made the NBA finals in the last 20 years. Other than NJ with Kidd and Philly with Iverson, the majority of finalist are more talented 2-12 than the Cavs

  14. gil - Jul 21, 2010 at 8:01 PM

    To all basketball [NBA specially] fan out there,
    Let me remind you guys that “basketball” is and will ever be a team game. No one even you championed the HOF’s Michael, Magic, Larry etc… will ever win an NBA finals if they’re individually surrounded by average players, coaches and most importantly greedy owners!
    It’s already proven, like when MJ joined the WWizards, his 6 rings can not even bring the division title to the club! Magic or Larry? hey these guys landed on clubs that’s already been well organized and proven dynasties! So how do you call their destiny? coincidence? They were both look and played great because they were really surrounded by future HOF players and coaches! CAVS? LOL! I can only remember the names LeBron & Brown unless you are an avid fan of them… you can name even their water boys!
    Be thankful of the development in NBA nowadays at least we are assure of new exciting games now that Miami will be again a contender in the finals!

  15. Wes C - Jul 21, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    OH please! Don’t be quoting those season stats for Jamison. Where was he against Boston? Let’s see: 33.2 mins/gm, 1 assist/gm, 11.8 pts/gm, 0.7 steals/gm… What did LeBron do? Only just: 42.5 mins/gm, 7.2 assists/gm, 2.2 steals/gm, 26.8 POINTS/GM!! The Cavs rode him like a prize racehorse, and then when he couldn’t bring home the prize all by himself, they accused him of not giving his all! And every move that Cleveland made was strictly short term! Jamison, Shaq, they were all 1-year moves to get LeBron to re-sign with them this year! LeBron could see that Cleveland wasn’t looking out for his best interests. That’s why he made the move for a long term chance at success. Good for him!

  16. JD - Jul 21, 2010 at 9:06 PM

    LeBron TOOK #6?! Wow first #23, then this! He has no respect at all. It’s understandable why he treated Cleveland the way he did. He’s surrounded by a bunch of ‘Yes’ men. Understandable, yes. Forgivable, never.
    Lebron: I think it’ll be a great idea to team up with DWade and Bosh 2 years from now. What do you think, guys?
    ‘Yes’ men: Yes, LeBron. That’s a great idea! Genius!

  17. luffy - Jul 21, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    Yes they would’ve won game 6 vs. Boston, coz Kobe would’ve made 35-40 points instead of 27, 5 rebounds instead of 10+ because he’ll leave the rebound part to Gasol, Odom and Bynum, and 10 assists as well…
    What does LBJ wants? good Stats or to win? I think he’s for the stats…

  18. luffy - Jul 21, 2010 at 11:37 PM

    What a long and dumb comment, clearly a Miami fan…
    To sum it up, LBJ had a good team in Cleveland. If anybody disagrees on this, you are totally stupid. get to the facts, they got in the Finals, to the East Finals, then 2 straight years they had the best record in the NBA reg. season…
    MJ and Magic is right, LBJ doesn’t have it, he’s never be one of the great ones w/the move that he made. even if the stats proves it, even if he wins a ring, he’s never gonna be at MJ, Bird, Magic, Kobe’s level. He’s always gonna be known as the most desperate loser ever, ironically even if he wins a ring, he’d still be a loser in the great ones eyes…

  19. luffy - Jul 21, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    Plain and simple…
    If Kobe or MJ or Magic or Bird had the Cavs roster last season, they would’ve won against Boston and probably the NBA championship as well…

  20. la fan - Jul 21, 2010 at 11:59 PM

    Mike, how many titles did MJ win without Pippen, how many did Magic win without Kareem? I never said that Kobe (or anyone) did or could do it by himself. Good teams win titles not just good players. Yes luck has lots to do with it too…

  21. diboi - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:57 AM

    yup no one can win a title without a team because basketball is a team game but those people in magic’s or jordan’s team are not acknowledge until they looked good on michael or magic’s team.. QUEEN JAMES has the team mates capable of winning a championship until LEBRON chokes… he is a COWARD in the land of the brave… shameful… yuckks

  22. diboi - Jul 22, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    in your f*****g dreams.. SHE could never be great because she’s a coward.. jordan beat the pistons when they are the best in the east… QUEEN JAMES chokes and quits in every way she could in the playoffs when she can’t penetrate the defense of the opposing team..

  23. luffy - Jul 22, 2010 at 2:17 AM

    I’d accept the move if LBJs reason was because Delonte West banged his Mom, I wonder how the fans would react if he said that in that 1 hour friggin’ ESPN show…
    WTF?! Imagine having S_x w/a long-haired LBJ?! LMFAO

  24. kosa - Jul 22, 2010 at 6:38 AM

    I totally agree with matt. Hakeem Olajuwon never had an all star on his roster when he beat a New York Knick team that had 3 all stars(Starks, Ewing and Charles Oakley). He was the only all star on his team at the time. Lebron James is yet to understand play off basketball and i can bet you Miami will crumble come playoffs. I don’t even think he and Kobe should be mentioned in the same sentence. kobe won a ring surrounded by role players. Pau Gasol was not an all star till he played with Kobe. Besides Lebron has always had a very good roster, he has played alongside Larry huges, Antwan Jamison, drew gooden, illgaskis, mo williams, shaq and has still fallen short. Let”s not forget Scottie pipppen became an allstar the year Micheal jordan won his first ring. He should be the one signing Wade and Bosh to Cleveland, he will never ever be considered great excepts he breaks some record. Dwayne wade would have his second ring if they win a title. And that will not go well with the peole of Cleveland as you can already see how they are depresssed with his final decision. We will have to wait for the season to start, he would have to average a triple double for a whole season and try to at least beat Oscar Roboertson’s record for having the most triple doubles in one season.

  25. basically - Jul 22, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    CC, are you kidding me? After Michael, it was Pippens team. I can’t believe you would disrespect Scottie by calling it Toni Kucoch’s team. Toni’s probably laughing at your ignorance too. Go Bulls!!!!

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Heat can make playoffs without LeBron
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (4945)
  2. B. Lopez (4841)
  3. V. Oladipo (4792)
  4. N. Noel (4667)
  5. J. Lin (4448)