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What would have happened had Michael Jordan joined forces with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird?

July 20, 2010 | 11:32 am

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Let the well-deserved piling on continue. Lakers fans and pretty much everyone else outside Miami has blasted the way LeBron James went about his decision to join the Miami Heat. Many, including myself, didn't necessarily blame him for "taking his talents to South Beach" in hopes to win a title, but found fault with how he announced his choice in a one-hour special and humiliated Cleveland in the process. Then there are others who say that James' decision implicitly admits he can't lead a team to a title and instead can only do so being a wingman.

Count Michael Jordan as a believer in the latter argument. He told reporters at a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada, "There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry [Bird], called up Magic [Johnson] and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team.' Things are different. I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."

Clearly Jordan understands why James made the decision to go to Miami and makes it painstakingly clear it was the wrong choice to make for his legacy. The circumstances surely are different: Jordan had a supporting cast in Chicago, whereas James had an aging Shaq, though Jordan appeared to get more out of his teammates than James ever could. But without a doubt, the way James milked every ounce of attention he could out of free agency and the fact he will be Dwyane Wade's sidekick surely hurts his status among the league's all-time greats.

I bring this up not to continue to bash James (although I'm sure it's surely welcomed in this blog), but to bring up another hypothetical question. Say Jordan indeed went to Johnson and Bird and convinced them to form a super team. What would happen? Would the three accept? Which team would they join? How would Johnson have played? Feel free to share your thoughts below and I'll feature the best comments in a post tomorrow.

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: What would have happened had Magic Johnson teamed up with Michael Jordan and Larry Bird? Credit: Los Angeles Times


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