The Lakers are without a doubt one of the most storied franchises in NBA history with some of the greatest players we’ve ever seen.
The likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and now LeBron James have all suited up for the purple and gold, with many NBA fans arguing that Bryant and Abdul-Jabbar were the best Lakers players in history.
But Former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson has a different take.
“I think Magic Johnson is the greatest Laker of all time,” Jefferson told J.J. Redick. “I think he prolonged Kareem’s career. Which allowed Kareem to reach the heights that he did. He made the NBA relevant.
“NBA Finals were tape delayed in the 80s. His name is fu**ing Magic Johnson. He built this empire with Larry Bird and then Jordan came after that. So, it’s like Magic Johnson as far as importance to the league…he’s got to be a Top three player. Especially during the years of the league actually expanding. You had to have something to market, and he did it beautifully. And, you go back. What he did as a rookie in the damn NBA Finals, going for fu**ing 40 and playing center with no Kareem. As a rookie! Like, Michael Jordan used to look at Magic being like, “That’s the motherfu**ing dude!”
Johnson was a one-man team as he spent his whole career in LA where overall he recorded 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game while shooting 52 percent from the field.
Magic also earned a very impressive 12 All-Star selections, 10 All-NBA selections, five NBA titles, three MVP awards and three Finals MVP awards and likely would have ended up with more accolades had he not been forced to retire after a HIV diagnosis in 1991.
In 1995-96 he did return to the court and averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game.
In 2016 at Bryant’s farewell, the great man himself Johnson said that he believed Kobe to be the greatest Laker player ever, but Jefferson definitely does make some excellent points about Magic.