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

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

They'd have become SMALLER than they were...

Oh, btw...LeBron could have a ring by now, if the refs kept calling the game for him. But thanks to Delonte West, the princess throw 2 games against Boston. He wanted to CRUSH the Cavs for not telling him his mom was having some fun w/ his friend.
LeGone = pathetic.

Mark Medina,


The thing is Bird, Jordan and Magic were each better than LeBron, Wade or Bosh--especially in terms of competitive spirit.


Bird, Jordan and Magic would probably have done fine together. The Heat? That's another issue.


LeBron is now too busying thinking he's going to party his way up to being "the greatest ever." Yeah, right.


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


GO LAKERS!!!

Jon K - That's definitely a good point. Bosh doesn't belong in the same category as the Bird-Johnson-Jordan trio.

MM

Magic, Bird or Jordan...WHO would have been the one to go to the others and say, "let's get together to win!"...Are you Crazy! Not one of them would have admitted they needed the others to win. They were competitors. They would never have asked and if Magic came to Jordan to ask him to join him, Jordan would have laughed at him and not even replied.

Maybe James thinks he can solidify his legacy by running a string of championships that will be seen as a dynasty, but to me, that is a copout and sign of weakness.

In case anyone was wondering,

Mychal Thompson Stats;

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/t/thompmy01.html

Lamar Odom Stats;

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3327/career;_ylt=AihRpM70SRb5m8bGmFB_z45YPKB4

Different eras, different players, etc etc, make of it what you will.

one question: why didn't the self-proclaimed "king" of basketball have Wade & Bosh come to him in Cleveland instead of vice versa? at the very least he would have 'saved face' somewhat in still appearing to be a leader instead of a follower - i'm just glad the whole Kobe/Lebron debate has been settled once and for all - Lebron will NEVER be in the same sentence as a Kobe, Jordan or Magic ever again

Bosh belongs in the Barkley, Malone, and whatever other best player without a championship category. Even then, those players are better then Bosh. He'll end up winning a championship I'm sure with Wade and James but his involvement will mean as much as say Rondo during the Celts last title. Yeah he was an important cog but he wasn't the big 3. In Miami's case, it's really the Big 2 + 1. Bosh is overrated.

Jon K,

you wrote: LeBron is now too busying thinking he's going to party his way up to being "the greatest ever." Yeah, right.

my response: I "think" he has tacitly acknowledged that he's not/won't ever
be "the greatest ever" and now is striving for being part of the greatest *team*
ever. I think every rational basketball fan *must* acknowledge that they (3)
can be formidable. If they were to whip off 4 in a row .... that would be
impressive.

For what it's worth, I'm excited by what's happened in the east. The east
got harder and we're about to find out if LBJ is really all that. What will it
say if LBJ can't get to the finals with Wade & Bosh on his team?

LAL818- Mamba24 is back and on FIRE, Palm Springs man it's HOT in the desert. Welcome back, chats at 1:00pm.

Stacking a team to win championships decreases the value of those championships. It is like a team at the gym playing pick up where you sign the list and 5 guys walk in with a stacked team to play all night and blow people out. A one sided game isn't fun, there is no challenge. It will be interesting to see how Gilbert's curse on the Heat plays out next season...you never know what might happen...;-)

What I find appalling is that in this analogy Bird and Magic is equal to Wade and Bosch. That is so not the case, even if you can consider Jordan is equal to LeBron before Jordan won anything (which is also not the case).

LeBron is just a great player and not an iconic player. Even if he wins a few rings. That legacy he has re-written for himself.

I have more faith in Durant, but his charisma is not up to par with some of those other guys. He's more a Tim Duncan type.

LeBron will even find it hard to fall in the Shaq category. One of the greatest, but just below Russell, Wilt and Kareem. Anyways, too soon to tell.

Depends on when MJ would have done it.... say in 1987.

SuperTeam would have won 88, 89, 90, 91, 92... Bird & Magic Retire, MJ would hopefully still have Pippen, because if not, it would be rebuilding time... assuming he still has Pippen and the Bulls core, add in 93, skips 94 after father's murder, 95 getting back to the top... then the last 3peat of 96, 97, 98.
So that would be 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98 = 9 titles at most; 5 titles at least.

He won 6 as it was and gets all the glory to himself

MJ, MAGIC and BIRD, that would be a team from JUPITER, you play them together in one team, they will be out of this world for sure.


It is exactly my point why I am excited about the Lebron/Wade/Bosh trio. I do not agree with the way the decison went down in ESPN, but what they have done is unprecendented. Someting new, something that has never been done before. It could take it to the next level.


The evolution of the NBA has brought more and more Superstars, great players from around the world. Which means with more greater talent availabale SUPERTEAMS will be formed, unlike before.



I can only imagine what would have happened if the Dream 3 played together...

I do know what would have happened, but I know what wouldn't have happened...Practically all the history written during those years, defining moments in the NBA history, would have never happened...

What would the NBA picture look like if the Dream 3 played together...

1. The NBA would have not been saved by the Magic/Bird rivalry...
2. MJ would not have the legacy he enjoys today...He probably has 6 rings also, but probably not have 6 Finals MVP...
3. The NBA would have been boring, with the Dream 3 beating everyone, and goes on to string 5-7 rings in a row...The NBA would not have the fan base it enjoys today...
4. The next chapters of the storied Lakers vs Boston rivalry, never happens...No McHale clothsline of Rambis, no Magic baby hook in game 6, no celebrating winning a championship and breaking the curse, on the Gahden parquet floor...
5. The current Championship total of today of Lakers 16 and Celtics 17 would be different with the Dream 3 winning 6-8 of those...
6. The only rivalry would have been Dream3 vs the rest of the league...
7. The Spurs would not have their 4 titles...
8. No Converse commercials for Bird and Magic...
9. No McDonalds commercial between MJ and Bird...
10. I probably would not be the Laker Fan I am today...

Just for the purpose of what we would have lost if the Dream 3 played together, would make that scenario UNACCEPTABLE...

It's like saying, what if the Mayflower landed in Nova Scotia, Canada instead of Plymouth, Massachusetts...

There would be no USA today...

It worked in Boston because they took three complimentary players, all better suited as second bananas, and put them together with the common goal of winning something big for a change. Garnett was the only one of them who's a sure fire Hall of Famer on the basis of his past MVP in Minnesota. I'm pretty confident Pierce and Allen aren't first ballot guys. None of them could lead a team to the promised land on their own, even with great talent around them.

In Miami, Wade has shown he can do it. Albeit, he had a Shaq who was still the best center in the league in '06, and some refs who were clearly "confused" as to how to interpret the hand check rule. Lebron, he's a spoiled kid who when things don't go his way, wants to take his ball and go home. Chris Bosh isn't in the same league as Wade and James, but he's a nice PF. Probably the best athlete at PF in the league today, but I think his numbers will take the biggest hit in MIA along with his overall impact.

So the big question is, who'll take the back seat? Bosh is already #3, and my take on him is that he doesn't have that killer instinct to be an all-time great. He's a paycheck player. In all the reports, he was dead set on getting a 6 year deal - that speaks volumes. Just a step above Joe Johnson in that respect. LBJ and Wade better figure out quick who's taking the critical shots and see if they can coexist. I can see them blowing up ala Kobe V. Shaq, but even worse given all the tabloid media out there.

Even so, with scrubs 4-12 on that roster, I don't see them taking the Lakers this year. Or next.

Easy people gets tired of hard things
Hard people gets tired of easy things

We all know where the greats belong

DFish, wake up, wake up...it is morning already!

The thing is with Derek Fisher back into the starting lineup for the Lakers. The Lakers are unbeatable. He combines lightening quick speed with incredible shooting. And no one not even Kobe can finish at the basket like the gritty veteran. posted by: DFish | July 20, 2010 at 12:23 PM
*
ROFLMFAO!! OH SWEET JESUS! NOW THAT'S SOME FUNNY ISH!

Lebron is taking his talents to South Beach...Whatever is left will go to toward the Miami Heat.

Bynum has his surgery set for 7-28...finally...

http://my.lakers.com/blogs/2010/07/20/date-set-for-bynums-surgery/

Lebron is taking his talents to South Beach...Whatever is left will go to toward the Miami Heat.Posted by: Scott | July 20, 2010 at 12:31 PM
*
LMAO!! THAT'S NOT BAD EITHER!

Geeez....What would happen if Michael, Magic and Larry were to join forces??? They already did. It was called DREAM TEAM. Imagine if their coach was Chuck Daly??? He was. God rest his soul. The DREAM TEAM sacrificed their time for their country. What kind of sacrifice have LBJ, Wade and Bosh given??? $25 mil each?? Why don't they sacrifice one year's salary each and help create jobs for this country and improve education.

Geeez....What would happen if Michael, Magic and Larry were to join forces??? They already did. It was called DREAM TEAM. Imagine if their coach was Chuck Daly??? He was. God rest his soul. The DREAM TEAM sacrificed their time for their country. What kind of sacrifice have LBJ, Wade and Bosh given??? $25 mil each?? Why don't they sacrifice one year's salary each and help create jobs for this country and improve education. Posted by: spirothegreek | July 20, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Now that wasn't just,not bad, that was...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!

@DFish...

LOL...I would say that comment is sarcasm at it's best.We all know Fisher is like the rabbit's foot or four leafed clover of la..lol

OUT FREAKIN STANDING!...

That's what I say when I enter the page and see Mamba24 is on...:)

Mamba24 did you get the purple and gold bus form Mitch yet...he said it was on the way...;)

'Bout time Drew got the "knife." Hopefully everyone rightfully assured him that waiting this long wouldn't be a problem to being prepared for preseason, and he didn't just put it off on his own.

Me, I'm an anxious type: when I have a project due, I can't relax until I get it done (no last minute, night-before stuff for me). I'm that way because my career is important and I know enough that ANYTHING can happen at any given time, so get the important stuff out of the way. If I were a professional athlete, that would translate to getting the surgery first... everything else (even the World Cup) afterward. But that's me.

LEWSTRS -

Good news on Bynum. And it's scheduled on my birthday!

That settles it - forget the Callaway FT-5 T Neutral Driver... all I want for my birthday is for Bynum to come out of surgery with no complications, to have a speedy recovery and to dominate the league like we all know he can!

It would probably have been frowned upon just as much as LeWaOsh. People don't want alliances, they want competition. The added pressure of such a move is ridiculously insane and unneeded. Any year that these guys don't win a championship is going to bring about an insurmountable mountains of criticism. poor LeWaOsh, Cleveland is going to laugh every time they fail to get a ring.

If you are a baskeball fan, would you rather see a MAVS- Dirk/Howard/Terry vs Haslem/Posey/Wade NBA Finals... or


Hawks- Horford/Smith/Johnson vs Nene/Anthony/Billups ???


No, right! We all want to see a ... SHOWDOWN of Superteams!


Lebron/Wade/Bosh vs Kobe/Gasol/Bynum NBA Finals 2011

puddle - LOL what a great B-Day present...Happy Birthday in advance...

I wish AB's procedure goes smoothly with no complications...and his rehab goes accordingly with no lagging pain or restricted movement...

@lEWSTRS, I swear man, I put the check in the mail this morning! Lol! Thank you sir. Your talents are only exceeded by your class. Lewstrs you are a class act...and I will get that check to you. Lol!

Really?

Stupid post Mark?

First off, mj, bird, and magic played on championship teams. Secondly each already knew how to win. I doubt that they were friends that Hung out at clubs together. They just respected one another.

its just frustrating to me that people would actually compare them to non hall of famers, let alone non champions (except wade)

Remember the "Dream Team" USA olympic squad? That is what the real big 3 would have done to the NBA...absolutey crushed the competition. Can you Imagine Magic breaking down the D, going coast to coast and setting up Bird and MJ? Freakin scary. Then look at the LeBron led USA dream team taking 3rd...no comparison.

Mentality no doubt plays a big role in the making of a champion. LBJ mentality has been to put having fun (such as posing for imaginary pics, hitting the invisible baseball, ....) ahead of championship vs Kobe's who did not even crack a smile with Rock yapping in his ears in the Finals. That is a BIG difference between a winner and a loser.

Wow not to bring up the "super friends again",buy just came off of espn.com and saw a post about MJ.Basically he answered the question which I guess everyone wanted to know,to the tune of over 11,000 responses. Yep I thought it was a typo.

So far these guys have kicked up a lot of dust...
the decision,
bosh stting he doesn't wanna be "add on" then is added on
bosh stating they planned it for months,then recanting,
bron stating 4,5,6,7, rings(lol)
wade coming to brons rescue to assure cleveland he didn't quit
brons jewelry heist,
and finally wades trade center gate...

I thought these guys had good pr...??
Is everyone now using brons agency or what??

The next time the super friend wanna throw a big bash before they get said ring,they should throw a movie night.
They should watch spiderman, and pay close attention to uncle ben....."with great power comes great responsibility"
It's only been a few weeks they can still get good pr people who can simply teach em how to answer yes and no..............

The Jordan,Magic Bird thing would have never happened back then except for the olympics of course. Those 3 were born winners not winers. Not one of em would have even thought to ask the other.It wa about competing and being the best by taking out the best not joining forces.Also back in the day the media wasn't what it is now.None of those guys needed hyping up and being shoved down people throats all bron by stern.Finally back in the day tampering wasn't allowed.(lol). My how things and times change............

hobbitmage,


"What will it say if LBJ can't get to the finals with Wade & Bosh on his team?"


You can count on them not making the Finals.


LeBron is so used to being adored and having everyone kiss his butt. Now he's about to be bathed in hate. I'm confident that his narcissistic wound won't be able to handle that.


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


GO LAKERS!!!

If the Miami Heat were not formed, who are the Lakers going to meet in the Finals? An aging Boston with no depth, Magic with no Hedo? Might as well crown the Lakers for sure.


Now, thanks to SUPERTEAMS, there is Heat and Bulls brewing, should have added Boozer and JJ though (instead it's only Korver and Brewer).

In the words of the great Moses malone..."fo, fo, fo, fo"

"That settles it - forget the Callaway FT-5 T Neutral Driver..."


No. No. No. I can imagine you in the tee-off with that powerful beautifuk thing.

espn article.....

Kobe ont top..tied with tiger for america's top athlete lebron gone from 3rd to 6th and jordan from 2nd to 7th...

CTran,


Keep in mind that LeBron grew up in Akron. So he knows INTIMIATELY how Cleveland-Akron-Canton-Youngstowners have suck a massive inferiority complex and are protective of their own.


And the guy goes waltzing around town in Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees paraphenalia. Give me a break.


He's a jerk.


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


GO LAKERS!!!

You tell 'em, Mike. I remember when Pippen became a first-team All-NBA forward, you insisted he be traded for a CBA point guard. And when the Bulls tried to sign the league's premiere rebounder/defensive forward in '95, you said "Hell, no" to playing with Dennis Rodman, and the team signed Urkel.

How many of those Bulls players were so awful that they only lasted 12-15 seasons or so in the league? Pippen, Rodman, Cartwright, Grant, Paxson, Kerr, Harper. The year after Jordan's first retirement, the Bulls had two fewer wins in the regular season.

Mike would have played with Magic and/or Bird in a heartbeat if it could have been arranged.

Hobbit,

Excellent post my friend.

spirothegreek,

Spot on with post about MJ, Magic and Bird already playing together on the DreamTeam.

In my mind they were to competitive and self-driven to have considered playing together on an NBA team. Each wanted to prove that they were the man and that one could beat the other. Winning the title made it that much more gratifying and sweet because you accomplished it against the greatest of your peers. Wade, LeBron and Bosh trio pale in comparison to a fantasy trio of MJ, Magic and Bird. All things being equal and each player in his prime, I'd take the latter 3 in a heartbeat. Surround the MJ, Magic and Bird with comparable or similar talent that Wade, LeBron and Bosh have around them now, and it could be argued that the original big three could do just as well if not better(Miami Thrice has yet to prove anything, but we'll see).

Here's a scenario for everyone. MJ, Magic and Bird agree to play together. Which players would surround them in that era, using the same rules and salary cap today?

MJ/Magic/Bird Wade/LeBron/Bosh

6th man-? Mike Miller
Center-? Big Z
PF-? PF-Haslem
bench players? PG-Chalmers,Jason Williams?
Joel Anthony, J.Howard, J.Jones, Magloire

Please select guys from MJ/Magic/Bird era that compare favorably with the supporting cast of the small three. In other words, don't plug in Kareem at Center(even though it may have been a possibility)or Charles Barkley at PF. Just make it equal and go from there. Thanks.

HTJ,


"So the big question is, who'll take the back seat? Bosh is already #3, and my take on him is that he doesn't have that killer instinct to be an all-time great. He's a paycheck player."


You are confusing me. So, what are you really saying take a back seat is good for them or take a back seat is not good for them? OR are you confuse yourself with your own thinking?


Have you ever heard of KOBE AND SHAQ, who went to the FINALS 4 STRAIGHT TIMES TOGETHER AS 1A AND 1B... both did not want to take a back seat! Yes! they exploded but after 3 straight rings, did'nt even like each other and STILL GOT THE JOB DONE. James and Wade are like brothers, they genuinely laugh together! and you think they will explode! You are kidding yourself.


I don't see why everybody is bashing LeBron and the Heat so much? They are simply taking advantage of the system as it is structured and taking ownership in the construction of a team instead of just taking the check. I don't think you can compare any of the Heat's 3 superstars to Magic/Bird/MJ who are 3 of the 4 best players EVER. People don't remember that Magic was considered a choker based on his stinker in '84 as well as a coach-killer. MJ was considered a rich man's Dominique Wilkins until Pippen and Grant came aboard and Bird was part of his own Big 3. We won't really know how good or bad Miami's superfriends are until their careers are over. That being said, if you put Magic,Bird, and MJ on the same team, you would certainly CRUSH everyone with Magic at PG, MJ at SG, and Bird at SF but without a decent 4 or 5, they would have still had problems as I believe the league had better basketball players at that time. Who is gonna guard Kareem, Ewing, Hakeem, Robinson, or any of the great centers that played at that time. Basketball requires 5 players and even if you have 3 superstars, they could not play all 5 positions. Give the Heat time to either succeed or fail before you judge them but at least give them credit for controlling their destiny.

I think the people who say that Jordan & Magic & Larry would actually have played together if given a chance because they liked having great talent around them, and needed great talent around them to win, are being a bit disingenuous.

It's not that Magic wouldn't have loved to play with Larry... it's who would leave their The Man role and go to the other player's team. Magic wouldn't go to Boston, Bird would NEVER go play on Magic's team, and MJ would want both of the others to play on HIS team. They'd all be just fine playing with the other two, if the other two came to THEIR team.

I think what all these greats are objecting to are that LeBron, touted as the GOAT already, chose to go to D-Wade's team, abdicating his Being The Man spot to sublimate his legacy to Wade's. Jordan, Magic and Bird would NEVER do that.

But those're just my thoughts, and hardly count for the paper they're printed on... which is digital, so... not so much.

If Jordan, Magic, and Bird played together, they would have won at least 10 championships. Their competitive spirit, ability to get the most out of their teammates, and skills would make it difficult to beat their team.

I don't know why people keep anointing Miami as a SuperTeam. They have not won anything yet together. And only Wade has won one which wouldn't happened without Shaq. Sure, they look good on paper. But if a key injury happens here or there, and it's down the tube for them. Until they win one, they are just that, another team seeking the crown. I am not impressed, yet.

Lebron will get his ring for sure with Bosh and Wade, now becomes a KING with a RING, and a CROWN (the trophy). But it will only happen until Kobe says so! When the time comes
KOBE will say, it is my time to pass the torch to the next great one.. It will happen. Lebron/Wade/Bosh will beat the Lakers or the Thunder will beat the Lakers. Just not this year! This year is LAKERS GLORY 2011!!!

Both Lebron and Durant will win a ring. That will be the next great battle.

The Superfriends are in Miami, the Superboys are in Oklahoma. But the Black Mamba is still IN LA!!! Until he says he is done..

What would have happened had Michael Jordan joined with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird? Hmmm...it would be magic, like a bird flying on air jordan.

The Superfriends are in Miami, the Superboys are in Oklahoma. But the Black Mamba is still IN LA!!! Until he says he is done.. Posted by: Staples 24 | July 20, 2010 at 01:43 PM

NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!! TALK THAT STUFF STAPLES24!!!

Kobe ont top..tied with tiger for america's top athlete lebron gone from 3rd to 6th and jordan from 2nd to 7th... Posted by: VI Lakerfan | July 20, 2010 at 01:08 PM
No, No, Hell No! Not Princess Jimmy, Oh woe is me!! ROFLMAO!!! Stay on the case VI Lakerfan that's the best news I heard all day other than Andrew having his Surgery!

Hmmm...it would be magic, like a bird flying on air jordan. Posted by: Gilbert Battung | July 20, 2010 at 01:43 PM

Gilbert, Trademark & copyright that immediately! You'll make millions!

Say Jordan indeed went to Johnson and Bird and convinced them to form a super team. What would happen?

The Dream Team...

remember 1992 summer Olympics, they won each game by an average of over 40 points, coach Chuck Daly never called a timeout during the entire competition.... *yawn* lots of fun!

Umm, what would have happened MM?


They would have won a lot of basketball games.


That trio is more like LeBron, Kobe and a PG better than anyone currently in the league getting together (Magic having been the most unique player in NBA history). It is a better, more accomplished trio than you could build today. It is 3 guys who may be in the all time starting 5.


They would win a lot of games.

That Wade, James and Bosh have irreparably compromised their individual legacies, is a conclusion that not many can argue with. This is the deal they made in quest of the holy grail of basketball. Each recognized his limitations and ought to be given credit for being realistic. As the anchor of any team, none could have produced a championship, not now nor ever in the future.

I can understand the hypothetical concerning Magic, Bird and Jordan, all of whom have been series MVPs in NBA finals. You may be certain that none would have abandoned ship, not even for the sake of a championship. These men of pride, courage and conviction as to their basketball prowess, all welcomed competition. The more intense it became, the more they excelled, the deeper they reached into their souls and became even more revered when they triumphed. They were not merely mindful of winning a ring but were astute enough to know that it's the journey, the route one takes to get there, that establishes and then defines the legacy.

Sadly enough, THE THREE BIG EGOs, all of whom have been touted as "students of the game of basketball," did not pay attention to the lessons taught by Magic, Michael and Larry.

We live in different times now. Magic and Bird were ruvals in college for godsakes. Of course they woul never want to be on the same team. And Jordan was just a killer who would never ever do what these guys did. The biggest thing to think about here though is those guys played in LA, CHI and BOS and had hall of game talent around them. Magic had Kareem, Worthy, Scott, Rambis. Bird had McHale, Parish, Dennis Johnson and we all know MJ had Pippen, Kerr, Horace Grant. Not to mention Pat Riley and Phil Jackson were coaches of those teams. You cant blame these guys for wanting to leave Cleveland and Toronto. I think we should all hold the criticism until we find out what these guys can accomplish together. If they can say at the end of their careers that their team was better then those lakers, celtics or bulls it will be well worth the criticism.

Get real, Wade, LeBron & Bosh are not in the same league as Magic, Bird & Jordan.

Get real, Wade, LeBron & Bosh are not in the same league as Magic, Bird & Jordan.

Jordan couldn't win without Pippen, Magic without Kareem, or Bird without McHale.

As stated earlier, MJ, Magic, and Bird played for the Dream Team. They were also coached by Chuck Daly who also won championships.

Wade, Bosh, and Lebron will be coached by a third year coach with a commanding .549 regular season stat, and a dizzying .333 post game stat.

Now who do you think would have fared better?

If Jordan, Bird, and Magic teamed up together, none of them would be the great NBA icons they are today. Yes, they probably would've won a championship every season they played together, but they wouldn't mean as much as the championships each won separately.

I think that Miami will win a championship (possibly multiple), but the championship(s) the "3 Kings" win together will never be equivalent to any of the championships Jordan, Bird, and Magic won on their teams separately. For Wade, the possible championship(s) he may win with James and Bosh will never be equivalent to the one he won in 2006. For James, the possible dynasty will never make him feel as good as he would've felt if he won even just 1 championship in Cleveland (and I truly believe he would've eventually won at least 1 championship there). For Bosh (who I think is overrated), he'll enjoy any championship they may win the most because I don't think he could have won a championship as "the man" on a team.

Mamba24..Trademarked and copyrighted. You be my manager and start collecting the first of our millions.

HoopsJunkie....

Nice post. Very logical and fair. One could even argue that if you took Magic, MJ and Larry off the '92 Dream Team, it wouldn't have mattered much in terms of that team's dominant performance. Drexler, Robinson, Barkeley,
Ewing, Stockton, Malone, Pippen. They helped too.

The Heat will soon find out that nothing is won on paper. They've done their thing assembling that team, but it is a long way from July to June.

Let's see...which one would have said "I can't win unless I play with the best player in the league, but wait, that's me!" Gathering the best players and putting them on one team is like a wide open 5 ft jump shot....means nothing if you make it and you're a choking bum if you miss. Magic, Bird and Jordan wanted to prove they were the best by leading their team to a championship. Lebron permanently took himself out of any discussion of greatness when he conceded he couldn't lead his or any other team to a championship. Dwayne and Chris were never in the discussion to begin with.

OKC is a bigger threat to the Lakers than Miami. If Nike and NBC screamed about Durant the way they scream about LeBronze nobody would care about Wade's new sidekick.

Just for fun, go back and watch the 2nd half of the Gold Medal game against Spain. It looks a lot like LeBaby choking in the [insert any playoff series you want here] series. The dude has never stood up to mild pressure, and now he's going to be under some real pressure...I'll bounce the ball off my own foot for half what Riley's paying that guy.

gee i kno shi all y'all r saying that lebron will never ever ever ever ever again be mention in michael jordan's steps i guess will always have the dreams of ancient wild onesby the guys i'm from los angeles

MJ + Bird + Magic...talk about SHOWTIME!!!

Jordan didn't really come into his own until Magic was gone and Bird was on his way out so it's hard to say. This would have hypothetically happened in the very late 80's.

It would be a fantastic combo. Bird raining jumpers in from everywhere, Jordan finishing the break, Magic running the whole show. They would have been unstoppable. Magic was always unselfish so he'd push the ball on the break, then drop it to Jordan to initiate the offense and go post up whatever short person was guarding him. Bird would be anywhere with a shot almost any time.

Talk about competitive fire. THAT'S the difference between Magic-Jordan-Bird and the pale comparison of Wade-James-Bosh. The former would have played every game with fire and pushed/pulled their teammates along with them. The later just don't have the passion.

All said though, I think that combo prevents Jordan from becoming the player he did.

Have you forgotten that Magic came into the league when the Lakers already had Kareem? One of the ten best players of all-time?

And they were soon joined by James Worthy, one of the 50 best players of all time?

The Lakers and Celtics of that era (and, for at least a year, the 76ers) were clearly superior to what the Heat have put together now.

That dream of a team would never happened. And if it did, no one would have any respect for that team. It's like the Russian hockey team of yesteryears that consist of pros, then to come out to the the Olympic of the amateurs. Yes they won almost all the Olympics, and when they lost...that was news. In two years when the Miami Heats is suppose to win the NBA title? A team other than the Heat will make the news. Also keep in mind that the only person on the Heat that can play hurt is Wade. Lebron got hurt in this year's playoff and was out..(elbow?).Back to the dream team that will never happen,. Magic, Bird, Jordan, are all royal to the game. They will fight for their team and only one team. They would rather retired than cheapen them self by joining force on the competing team. Michael did with the Wizard 'cause he was lied to. This Lebron deal will serve as a lesson for the next generation of NBA star. Wade has never got any ink in the same sentence as Bird, Magic, Jordan, or even Kobe. and now Lebron have just join Wade.

At the end of the 1988 season, Michael Jordan’s Bulls had lost to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Semi’s. Bird’s Celtics lost to the Piston’s in the ECF, and Bird was slowed by injuries and was looking at major foot surgery going into the 88-89 season if he failed to improve. Magic Johnson’s Lakers completed their repeat championship, narrowly defeating the Pistons in the finals. But, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired, and it didn’t seem likely that the Lakers could three-peat against this Piston’s team next year. Jordan’s contract with the Bulls was up for renewal and the management wasn’t exactly tossing open their checkbooks. Negotiations were contentious and difficult. Magic was locked into his contract having signed a 25 year deal in 1984. Bird’s current contract ran through 1990, but with his injuries and the money freed up by Kareem’s retirement, the possibility of a trade seemed feasible. The following telephone conversation was recorded by the NSA’s ECHELON system, which had been employed extra-constitutionally since the Nixon administration. Tapes have recently been released via the Freedom of Information Act.


Circa June 1988:

Unknown Caller (LA): Hello. Mr. Johnson’s residence.

Unknown Caller (Chicago): Yes. Calling on behalf of Mr. Jordan. I believe this is the pre-arranged time.

LA: Yes. Mr. Johnson has been waiting. You are 25 minutes late.

Chicago: Mr. Jordan was delayed by fans outside his offices. You know how it is.

LA: Please. This is LA. It’s gauche to fawn here. We exchange crisp head nods and closed-fist salutes, not autographs.

Chicago: If you get Mr. Johnson on the line, I’ll get Mr. Jordan.

LA: I believe Mr. Jordan called Mr. Johnson. If you get him on the line, I will get Mr. Johnson.

Chicago: (muffled side discussion) Mr. Jordan suggests they both pickup on the count of three.

LA: Excuse me? I’m afraid I wasn’t listening. I was polishing Mr. Johnson’s Finals and MVP trophies.

Chicago: (muffled side discussion). Okay. Mr. Jordan is coming on the line.

LA: Excellent. I will notify Mr. Johnson.

Magic: Michael! What up?

Chicago: …silence….

Magic: MJ, you there?

Chicago: …silence….

Magic: …damn Jordan….

MJ: Psyche!! Gotcha!

Magic: Airness. My man. You can’t give an inch, can you?

MJ: You still smelling Laimbeer’s deodorant?

Magic: Right Guard. Man. I’m still picking his armpit hair from my teeth.

MJ: They had you going there. Now you know what I have to put up with in the East. If Isiah hadn’t turned his ankle….

Magic: Man, you know it.

MJ: That’ll teach you to get all huggy kissy with a guy like that. He’s an assassin.

Magic: So what can I do for you, Airness?

MJ: Well, my contract’s up this year. Been in the league long enough. I’m tired of getting punked in the playoffs.

Magic: That Pippen guy looks promising. You just need a big man in the middle who can play a half court game.

MJ: Yeah….

Magic: You don’t sound pumped by that.

MJ: Listen, Earvin. Let me cut to the chase. Reinsdorf’s a cheapskate. He played out all seven years of my last contract, paying me $845K this year while I’m pulling down scoring titles and MVP’s. I don’t see him laying down the bucks for Patrick Ewing.

Magic: …uh huh….

MJ: C’mon. Throw me a bone, here. You gonna make me spell it out?

Magic: uh huh…. (breaks out laughing).

MJ: Listen. You got five rings, LA is your oyster, you got hot and cold running women. Chicago’s cold as hell all winter and hot as hell all summer, the women are lumpy, and there’s nothing to do. I’m tired of getting smacked around driving the lane and being Laimbeer’s punching bag.

Magic: Tell me, what’s the salary cap this year?

MJ: I dunno.

Magic: $7.2 million. I’ll be making $3.1 mill. Worthy gets $1.3 and Byron makes an even million. That leaves $1.8 for the rest of the team. What are the Bulls offering you?

MJ: $1.8. I’m asking $2.2.

Magic: So you’ll settle for $2 even?

MJ: Sure.

Magic: How much is your Nike contract worth?

MJ: A lot.

Magic: I’m hearing over $5 million. And the Gatorade deal is close to that. Not to mention clothing, posters, celebrity engagements. Maybe the whole pot is over $20 million?

MJ: Maybe.

Magic: It’s $55.7 million as of yesterday. Don’t you know this stuff?

MJ: I got people to look after it?

Magic: People? People?? Kareem’s people ran off to the Cayman’s with his money so he had to drag his butt up and down the court ‘til he was way past 40. You think he was doin’ that for fun?

MJ: …but….

Magic: This is your money, MJ. You better know this stuff and know where it’s invested. World’s full of people looking to do a number on a trusting darkie from North Carolina!

MJ: Okay. I get it.

Magic: You are a product, man, a brand, an Industry! You don’t look after the brand, you be doing color commentary at a college game in Kansas City with freakin’ Marv Albert in a polyester sportcoat! You get it?

MJ: Okay.

Magic: So, let me ask you. Do you think Nike and Gatrorade and McDonald’s are gonna give you all that money if you cut and run from Chicago and come here to be my water carrier? I run Showtime. This town is mine. You want to run with me, hoping I dish the ball to you instead of Worthy or Scott, and settling for 20 shots a game?

MJ: (clears his throat) I get it.

Magic. So. Take the $2 million, get Scottie in the gym this summer and spell out what it’s all about. Rings. Get Doug Collins out of there and tell them to make Phil coach. He took three end-of-the-bench guys and six vagrants and won the CBA. That man can coach.

MJ: Okay.

Magic: I got Larry coming on the line. Hold on. Go ahead Larry. You’re late. Me and MJ have been talking.

Bird: What’s up?

Magic: Michael wants us all to get together. Like a Dream Team. I’ve been clueing him in.

Bird: Screw that. You come to Boston, you’ll be fetchin’ my rebounds, and I ain’t going to LA and holding Magic’s towel.

MJ: Okay, I get it.

Bird: Cowboy up, MJ. This is about being the biggest badass in town and no place is big enough for two of us, let alone three. ‘nuff said?

MJ: ‘nuff said.

Bird: Now get back in the gym and learn how to pass the ball. And don’t think this makes us friends! You come into the paint at my house and McHale will be doin’ a Rambis on your butt.

What would have happened if David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Conan O'Brien joined forces?

I'm sure they will win at least one ring in Miami. But, honestly when that happened, people will shrug and say so what, they were supposed to win it, not much satisfying there. So this is bad for the NBA because if Michael, Magic, and Larry had joined force then the NBA won't have this much popularity and growth as it is today. The same can be say for Wade and Lebron, if they stay on their own team and compete against each other and win championship, this will tremendously help them and the NBA for years to come. I feel like they are cheating the game, and fans. Once Kobe hang up the sneakers, who is going to get the torch from him? Not Wade and Lebron.

It's funny how us Laker fans are practically shaking in our boots. It may be a foregone conclusion that Kobe will never win another ring again, giving him 2 total of ones that he really earned. That's far less than Magic, Bird and Jordan, at 5, 3 and 6 respectively. The rings they won were all when they were "the man" on that team. Kobe was Pippen, at best, on Shaq's 3 Laker championship teams. You could say Wade is more accomplished than Kobe at the same stage of their careers. He won his first ring and Finals MVP in his 3rd year. He would have won it in his 2nd years as well if he didn't get injured in the Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit when they were up 3-2. Even if you compare Kobe and Wade by age, Kobe having gone into the league much earlier because he didn't attend college, Wade still has him beat, having won his championship where he was the team leader at 24, while Kobe won his as "the man" at 30. So you can say Wade is about 6 years ahead of Kobe. It's also funny to me since I can tell most of the posters here weren't even born when Magic won his first championships, or were in diapers when Jordan won his. This "criticism" they are writing now about Lebron is no different from what they used to write about Jordan. He was thought at the the ultimate ball-hog that could never win a championship because he was too selfish and couldn't make his teammates better. After he won his first ring in his 7th season, media and public perception began to change, and he ultimately secured his legacy with his final three-peat, coming back from his "retirement". If Lebron should start winning rings like Jordan did, you think he isn't going to be celebrated? Of course he will be. If the Heat win 4 in a row, people are going to say they did something even Jordan couldn't do. 6 in a row? People would be lauding Lebron, Wade and Bosh as geniuses for taking control of their careers instead of being pawns of "massa" team owners. People loved the '92 Dream Team when they destroyed the competition, just as they loved Jordan's "dream team" with Pippen and Rodman when they were as close to invincible as this league has seen a team and won 72 games. If Lebron can't win with Wade and Bosh, there's no way he could have won in Cleveland, which is true in any extent. The players they have and their extended over-inflated contracts would mean Lebron would waste his prime years, not unlike KG until he escaped to Boston. You think Kobe could have won a championship with Lebron's team in Cleveland, much less have the best regular season record for two years in a row? Kobe couldn't even make the playoffs with Odom and Butler, and those two guys are better than any players Lebron has played with recently, including Mo Williams, a way-past-his-prime Jamison, and an ancient Shaq. It's easy to hate Lebron cause we're Laker fans, but true basketball fans know this wave of criticism that Lebron is experiencing happens to all NBA greats and no doubt will further give him the opportunity to cement his legacy if he's able to win multiple championships with the Heat for "proving" his naysayers wrong.

And if Lebron wins his first championship with a 3rd year coach, how much more will that mean over the course of history than Kobe winning his first championship with Phil Jackson, who had already won 6 championships, not to mention being Robin to Shaq's Superman, Batman and Spiderman combined? People also forget that Lebron had a D-list coach all this time, a life-long "assistant" that after being fired by the Cavs is still unemployed in the NBA, despite have been to Finals, never missing the playoffs, and having coached the team with the best regular-season record for the past two years. That's because all the credit for the Cavs superb performance the past 5 years is given solely to Lebron by this league's executives. Truth is, history will never view Kobe as one of the "greats" at the same level of Magic, Bird and Jordan. He had the best coach of all-time, who spent his formative coaching years seeing Jordan lead a team, and 3 of his rings came from being Kato to Shaq. Unless Kobe can win another 3 rings being the leader on his team, his legacy will never equal to those 3 greats, and will be viewed closer to say, Isiah Thomas. Even Tim Duncan will be judged by history as a greater player, having won all 4 of his championships as the undisputed leader of his team, and with teammates that were good, but not future Hall of Famers like Shaq. Which is a little unfair to Kobe since Magic had two HOF teammates in Kareem and Worthy, Bird had two in McHale and Parish, and Jordan had soon-to-be-enshrined Pippen, as potentially Rodman as well. But again, those 3 great LEAD their team during ALL their championships, unlike Kobe, who has only won two being the undisputed leader. People are also forgetting Lebron is 3 years younger than Wade. It could well be Lebron will win more championships after Wade retires, possibly in 8 years. He may just equal Wade in championships or he may exceed him. We don't know. That's what makes this an exciting time in NBA history right now. History books are about to be written. For the young fans that haven't been around, there hasn't been a time like this since the mid-90's when Jordan won his final championships, and not REALLY like this when Magic was battling Bird in the 80's. With Kobe fighting for his legacy against this new generation, it could be that history will judge Lebron as superior to Kobe when he beat him just as history judges Jordan to be superior to Magic. If Wade ends up with 7 rings and Lebron with 8, you will see the "all-time" greats of basketball history being completely overhauled, with Wade and Lebron being judged possibly even ahead of Magic and Bird, and predictably on the same level or ahead of Jordan. However, if the Heat win ZERO championships, and there's a chance that can happen as well, then Lebron, at least, will be judged the biggest disappointment in NBA history given his universally regarded talents and potential. Wade's legacy will always be safe, having already won a championship as Finals MVP his 3rd year, when so many other great players have never won, including Baylor, Malone, Stockton and Barkley. This is why this is such an exciting time RIGHT NOW for basketball fans. Whether you love them or most likely HATE them, the Miami Heat are about to embark on a journey that has rarely been seen in the NBA, and as basketball fans, we ALL benefit.

1st of all...neither Magic, Bird, or Jordan wouldve joined together. They would have never done a cowardly thing like that! They were all trying to form TEAMS to compete for dynasties. Magic had Kareem, Worthy, Wilkes, MaCadoo, Cooper, Scott, Rambis, Kupchak, Thompson, and other GREAT ROLE PLAYERS. Bird had Mchale, Parish, Ainge, D. Johnson, and other GREAT ROLE PLAYERS. Jordan had Pippen, Cartwright, Rodman, Kerr, Kukoc, and other GREAT ROLE PLAYERS. These Superstars were trying to get the best ROLE PLAYERS on their teams, not the best superstars on their teams. Even though it wouldve been nice to see Magic, Bird, and Jordan on the same team:) Magic wouldve been the point guard, Jordan wouldve been the 2-gaurd, and Bird wouldve been the swingman on the perimeter (small-foward #3)to extend the floor and the defense. They would need the Triangle Offense to really dominate and succeed. Magic would run the show. Jordan would be the go-to-guy. Bird would be the 3-point specialist. All they would need would be a solid post up scorer and a solid post defender. We could dream all day!:) But im glad Magic, Bird, and Jordan stayed on their respective teams. The NBA would have suffered greatly.

You're wrong, Magic, Bird and Jordan DID join up together for the DREAM TEAM, along with Ewing, Barkley, Stockton, Malone, Robinson, Pippen, Drexler, and a whole lot of other Hall of Famers. Did we need to field such a team to win the gold medal at the Olympics? Of course not! But why did all those Dream Teamers agree? Because they all wanted to play with each other!

Fact is, there was never an opportunity for Magic, Bird and Jordan to team up with each other, other than on the Dream Team, and they ALL JUMPED AT THE OPPORTUNITY. Not saying they would have done it in the NBA, but they were never given a chance. However, why would they NEED to when Magic had Kareem AND Worthy, two guys that are arguably BETTER than any of the Miami "big 3", and definitely a better TRIO collectively. Same goes for Bird, who had McHale and Parish, and Jordan, who had Pippen and later on Rodman. You cannot say Bosh is better than McHale, Parish OR Rodman, and DEFINITELY not better than Kareem. Is Lebron as good as Magic, Bird or Jordan? Wade?

One thing for sure is that Kobe was INFERIOR to SHAQ during the three-peat. However, us Laker fans talk about Kobe 5 rings as if he won them all by himself. That's revisionist history, and Shaq could have won those three with Penny, Grant Hill, Iverson or McGrady on any of those Laker teams coached by Phil Jackson.

The point is that Lebron and Wade, and definitely Bosh, are not the only great players in the NBA right now. What about Kobe?! Are we going to dismiss him? Because Jordan makes Kobe sound like chopped liver when he compares Lebron, Wade and Bosh to him, Magic and Bird. What about Kevin Durant? Carmelo? Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Dirk? Not to mention yet-to-peak talents like Williams and Rose. It's crazy how we are talking about Lebron and Wade as the only good players in the league right now, and honestly, are they better than Shaq and Kobe in their prime?

Us Lakers went out and got Malone and Payton after we got destroyed by the Duncan and the Spurs, FOUR future Hall of Famers, so we really aren't the ones to talk. If anything, as Lakers fans, we should WELCOME the challenge of the Heat so we can destroy them and further cement Kobe's legacy. We barely beat the aging Celtics this year, and only because their starting center got injured in Game 6 which allowed us to come from behind to win the next two, and we barely won Game 7 if Wallace, who is retiring, didn't get body cramps. We were down by double-digits early in the game! So no, we didn't have a dominant performance in the Finals this year, and if we want Kobe and our Lakers to be judged positively by history, we NEED a formidable challenger in the Finals, not some aging injured Celtics team that proved they could beat us when their guys were JUST becoming over the hill, not at the very bottom of their careers.

This simplistic equation with number of championships as a measure of quality has its limits. Magic ≠ Kobe, nor Jordan is not 1/6th better than Magic on the basis of # of rings. West won a lonely one ring, yet he is ranked among the top 10 players ever. Ditto for Wilt with his two rings. Each man's situation and era was different and each has its own qualities. Lebron may ultimately be viewed as Shaq is coming to be: a player who was awesomely talented, got some championships, but fell short of his full potential due to vanity and lack of dedication.

Magic already had Kareem, Worthy, and Scott. No need to go anywhere else.

@drdreg That's absolutely correct, Kobe's 5 rings does not put him even CLOSE to Magic's 5 rings because for one, Kobe's first 3 rings were as second fiddle to Shaq, who was the Finals MVP for each of those championships and BY FAR, the best player in the league for those years. His last two rings were won in a HEAVILY DILUTED league against some pretty soft opposition. Not to discredit the Celtics, but their starting center was injured and their "big 3" are well past their prime. That Celtics team PROVED they were better than the Lakers when their stars were JUST over-the-hill.

Fact is, if ANY of Kobe's 5 championship teams competed in the 80's or in the early to mid-90's, Kobe would have ZERO rings. That's a fact. Unfortunately, the NBA has become watered down the past 15 years due to expansion and Stern's $$$ ideas not to mention the collective bargaining agreement and widespread free agency. The Heat, ironically, are a throwback to 80's level basketball, and still, I think they would have a hard time winning against the crazy loaded teams that the Lakers, Celtics and Bulls fielded in those decades. If Kobe played during that time, he wouldn't even be as well regarded as Isiah Thomas.

Mr. Toothnail
This is exactly what I mean. It's not math. Sure, Kobe had Shaq. But Magic had Kareem, Worthy and Scott, not to mention Pat Riley as coach. The league was the same size in 2000 as it was in 2010, not diluted. Rules change, competition waxes and wanes, players evolve. After a point, one just needs to generate a short list of major players and stop trying to make simplistic numerical lists. BTW: Kobe would be a major force in the league at any time. His talent, dedication and concentration are timeless. He is on the short list. 'Nuff said.

Now that you mention it, you have pure point guard in magic, a pure scorer in the shooting guard in Jordon and the consumate Small/big forward in Bird with both a inside and an excellent outside game. In other words their skills complimented each others.
Now look at the three stooges, although James plays small forward, he plays with the ball as a point forward and although Wade is the off guard he handles the ball to create offense, so right there a change in habits will need to be developed by both players. Bosh is the big question mark, is he really prime time on the big show or a small time market 20-10 guy. He is no larry bird. Will the two big scorers ( 28-30 per game) allow Bosh enough shoots to get his rythm?
I know this, I take Magic, Jordon and Bird on a three on three anytime. MJ would not let them lose. i wonder what the computer would say?

@drdreg Yes, Magic had Kareem, Worthy and Scott. But he was playing against Bird, McHale, Parish and Ainge. And Isiah, Dumars, Rodman and Lambier. Not to mention Jordan, Pippen, Paxson and Grant. Who did Kobe play against? Teams with Iverson, Miller, Kidd, and Howard individually, and not much else. The best competition Kobe ever faced was the Celtic's "big 3", but they are WAY past their prime, and destroyed us two years ago when they were JUST past their prime.

The league WAS NOT the same size in 2000 as it is in 2010. I'm surprised you wouldn't know that. Still, that's not even my point, I mentioned if ANY of Kobe's teams had to compete in the 80's and 90's, not 2000 when that WAS Kobe's (or more like Shaq's) team that won the title, that Kobe would now have ZERO rings. There have been SIX expansion teams in the NBA since 1988, with FOUR in the late 80's alone, though none of those teams became any good until the mid-90's. Yes, the NBA has become watered down since Magic and Bird's heyday, by an increase of 20% more teams. And with the CBA and free agency, teams HAVE become watered-down. That's why it seems shocking to young folks for Miami to have 2 "superstars" and 1 all-star. But for those of us that have been around, this is NOTHING NEW. I don't rate the current Miami Heat as being anywhere NEAR as talented as Magic, Bird or Jordan's teams, and possibly not even Isiah's. Not to mention Dr. J's 76's in the early 80's.

Fact is, though Magic came into a loaded team through the draft, and Jordan had his team built around him, those teams are as every bit, if not vastly more, talented than Miami's "big 3". Though I have to give a lot of credit to Bird, who seems to be the most under-appreciated player of these 3 with the current young folk, as he came into a sub-30 win team and took them to over 60 wins his rookie season.

Now if Lebron joined up with Kobe on the Lakers along with Dwight Howard, THEN maybe the Magic, Bird and Jordan comparisons might have SOME weight as THIS generation's representatives of the NBA "big 3", though it would still fall far short against those 3 all-time greats.

With MJ you have an alpha male competitor 2nd to none, who was the most complete player of his generation. He's first choice in any pickup game anywhere anytime. Magic could co-exist w/ him except his lack of D would drive MJ crazy. Bird and he might butt heads over leader of the pack issues. Everyone was making nice on the Olympic Team 'cause of the shadow of Magic's HIV Dx, revealed the year before, so their behavior there is not representative.

My mistake, but since 1995 the only expansion team has been the Bobcats in '04. Mon dieu! Who could forget the Bobcats?! One team in 15 years hardly makes for "heavy dilution". In fact, most of the dilution occurred from '88-'95, overlapping with the Magic/Bird/Jordan eras. Our estimates of past players seems to grow gilded with time, and people loom as giants who were in fact mere mortals. Magic played poor defense and his jumper was suspect. Isiah, Dumars and Laimbeer were punks who damaged the game during their heyday. MJ didn't develop a decent jump shot until the second half of his career. Pippin wilted when physically challenged. Everyone had flaws, it's just harder to see them through the lens of time and hero-worship.

@drdreg Yes, your mistake, and you made another one. Like I said, "There have been SIX expansion teams in the NBA since 1988, with FOUR in the late 80's alone, though none of those teams became any good until the mid-90's." To spell it out for you, when those expansion teams "became any good" is when the league started getting diluted. You must not have been paying attention if you think that league HASN'T been watered down the past 15 years.

In fact, if the league hadn't been diluted, just going by next season's rosters, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, David West, and yes, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh wouldn't be playing with their current teams right now. You're going to tell me those players don't make any impact on the league? Keep dreaming. The fact that Shaq, Kevin Garnett, Alonzo Mourning, Pau Gasol, Penny Hardaway, Tracy McGrady, Larry Johnson, as well as Vince Carter, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all started their NBA careers on these expansion teams should tell you how much of an impact and DILUTION these teams had on the league.

And besides, Bird won his last championship in '86, and Magic in '88, both before the first of these 6 expansion teams ever played a game. As for Jordan, his Bulls team was actually beaten in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in '95 by Shaq's expansion Magic.

As for your assumption that the "the lens of time and hero-worship" makes Magic, Bird and Jordan any less of the players they are perceived to be, who are you kidding? Really? Which in any case doesn't even address my point that the Heat with Lebron, Wade and Bosh aren't anywhere close to being as good as Magic, Bird or Jordan's teams, even WITHOUT any of those 3 playing together.

I see your point, but don't think it's that simple. Having watched pro-b-ball since the days of Jerry, Elgin, and Wilt, I think I can generalize that, while the ratio of raw talent/player may have maxed out in the 80's, compensating factors have offset this somewhat including:

Improved general physical condition of athletes coming into the system (better nutrition, conditioning, training from high school onward. Look at all the scrawny specimens on the court in photos from the 60's and 70's)

Vastly improved training and conditioning within the league.

Improved coaching. Offensive and defensive schemes are substantially more complex, especially on the defensive end. Nobody played team D in the 70's and 80's. How do u think they got those 120+ point games routinely?

Increased talent pool with entry of Europe and Asia into draft (not to be underestimated).

Has anyone like Hollinger looked at this quantitatively?

Like magic said one time before:if you are a great player on your team,you have to bring them guys up to your level to win championships. Thats what magic,jordan and bird did for their team and that what seperate great player from the greatest player of all time. Lebron team have had the best record in the league for the past 2 years. So he was not able to bring himself or the other guys up to championship level. Thats why he went to southbeach.

The only thing that this whole Lebron, Wade and Bosh ordeal is going to create is the necessary amount of motivation the Kobe needs to win that glorious number 6 and Phil his Holy 12. So its really only something to rejoice about as a Laker fan. I'm glad Kobe isn't joining any super team so that there is still a little bit of the old school competitiveness that was enjoyed during the MJ, Magic and Bird era.

Chemistry is the key unknown with the SuperFriends, and the possibility of a melt-down is real. Bosh strikes me as the wild card, as he is not really of the same caliber as LB and DW, and coming to realize this as the season goes on may make for some sour grapes and dissent. LB will defer to DW at first, but don't know how this will hold up over the season, especially if they lose more than they should.


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