Magic Johnson vs Lebron James 1 v 1
Many fans and analysts claim that LeBron James is a quicker, faster, stronger version of Magic Johnson due to his versatility and court vision. But is this the case? What happens when they square off in perhaps the highest profile match up in the entire bracket? Our panel discusses:
Pick: LeBron. As a long time Laker fan, my homerism makes me want to pick Magic in this hypothetical. In Magic’s prime, he was unique. A 6’9″ point guard built like a power forward, Magic feasted on smaller point guards on offense and played solid team defense. Magic was a consummate winner who did whatever the team needed, score, rebound, pass, and is widely regarded as the best point guard of all time. LeBron has been hyped as “the chosen one” since high school, joining the NBA roughly 10 years after Magic’s original AIDS induced retirement. LeBron is listed as 6’8″ 250 lbs, but looks more like 6’10” 265 lbs. He has been compared to Magic for his court vision. LeBron is a genetic freak and drives to the basket like a freight train, when he feels like it. He takes plays off and pulls up from 3 more often than not when a slower big man switches on to himThe best chance Magic would have to win is sagging off LeBron and let him cast away from deep where LeBron has been streaky at best. I don’t think Magic could stay in front of a focused LBJ, plus the recent addition of a passable post game from his Heat day benefits LeBron in this scenario. On offense, Magic’s shot is a bit too slow against LBJ’s athleticism, and Magic’s post game would be less effective against LeBron’s size and speed. If we were talking about starting a fantasy team I may be inclined to choose Magic, but 1 on 1 LBJ would take it 21 – 15
Pick: LeBron. Magic Johnson vs Lebron James , two of the best team players in the history of the NBA. LeBron has averaged more points per game in his career but that’s offset by (a) rules made by the NBA to make offenses flow freely and (b) LeBron has had to shoot more then Magic because Magic played with two other hall of fame players his whole career while LBJ only had those years with Team USA … excuse me, Team Voltron… pardon me again, I mean the Miami Heat . I was shocked to learn Magic lead the league in steals before but was never on an all defense team . The Showtime Lakers was more run and gun then a defensive juggernaut. On the other hand LBJ has 6 times been on the all NBA defensive team even though I think we all agree his defense is overrated. So if they played 1 on 1 both were sometime shooters from the 3 point line so I can see this game being determined by who makes the most jump shots . Even though Magic has a career .520 shooting % I can’t see him beating LeBron. It would be close but in the end LBJ would prevail .
Pick: LeBron. Although I take Magic as the best overall point guard of all time and a top five overall all time I would be hard pressed to pick him in a one on one match with Lebron. Presently Lebron is one of the top two players in the world ( depending on how you rate Curry). All time I have him slightly ahead of Dr J and slightly behind Larry Bird at his position . All time I rate Lebron somewhere 5-10 his record of 2-4 in the finals hurts him but his overall skill set and basketball IQ is easily top five all time. His career isn’t over yet and a few more rings would easily bump him up. Five on five I take Magic every time. Lebron possesses all the skills Magic had with accelerated physical attributes. Magic wins in the heart and leadership department. Lebron isn’t a bad leader and he two makes his teammates better just not in the same way Magic did. In a one one one however the advantages Magic normally would have he either wouldn’t have against Lebron or they would be useless one on one. Size is equal but Lebron has a more muscular body type. Height is about the same maybe an inch difference. Leadership won’t help Magic here. Magic usually abuses opposing guards in the post . No way he could rely on that to win here. Speed , jumping ability, on ball defense, all favor Lebron. This game would be like Magic playing himself on steroids or HGH. I’m taking King James
Pick: LeBron. Athletically, there is no real comparison between the two. LeBron is one of the most athletically gifted players in the history of the game. Magic was incredibly nimble for his size and able to play point despite being 6’9, but he didn’t have anywhere near the explosiveness or strength that LeBron possess. But athleticism isn’t everything, right? If it was, then DeAndre Jordan would beat Kareem one on one. Here’s why I’m leaning towards Magic: We all saw what happened when the Warriors slapped up the Cavs on Monday night. Golden State came in, hit Cleveland with some big shots, and the Cavs never recovered. In that game, LeBron went into his shell, and never returned. He has a history of doing this in big games, and is something he continues to struggle with. In this one on one, if he goes down 7-2 early, could we see him go into his shell? Absolutely. But honestly, as much as it pains me to say this, I still think Magic loses. Look, I love Magic. If I’m starting a team, he’d be either the first or second guy I’d take. But one on one, and against LeBron, I can’t do it. Magic was a very good scorer with a variety of post moves and a good outside shot, which remains underrated because his passing overshadowed everything, but James can stop all of that if he’s engaged into the game. Magic’s only hope is psychological, and I can’t assume LeBron will wet the bed again. James wins, 21-17.