Monday, February 27th, 2012 at 10:10 am  |  18 responses

LeBron James Compares His Game to Magic Johnson’s

LeBron James sees a lot of MJ in the way he plays basketball. Magic Johnson, that is. Per Yahoo! Sports: “For all his talent, James has yet to show the same type of killer mentality NBA champions like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Larry Bird owned. Bird said earlier this season that if he needed to win a game, he’d choose Bryant as a teammate over James. If he wanted to have more fun, Bird also said, he’d take James instead of Bryant. James sees himself as a player who would rather pick his offensive spots and get his teammates involved like Magic Johnson did when he won five titles for the Los Angeles Lakers. “Champions come in different shapes, sizes and forms,” James said. “Everyone always compares Kobe to Jordan and says they always have had that killer mentality. They always had that dagger, that dog. Then you look at Magic [Johnson], and people say that he was fun to play with. He was great. He always had his teammates’ back. He always got his teammates involved. He was a champion as well. They come in different shapes and sizes and forms and different colors as well. For me, I see myself on the side of the Magic range where I love my teammates, love being around them. I want them to be happy as well. At the same time, dominate the game, as well. I got a long way to go still to get to [Jordan’s and Bryant’s] levels to get multiple championships. Hopefully, I can get there someday.’”

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  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The myth continues.

  • http://dimemag.com Royal

    Magic was still a killer though…don’t let the smile fool you, he wanted to destroy the opposition just as much as Jordan did.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    What Royal said.

  • trueballer4life

    so true, he should took that shot last night kobe told him to pullthe trigger and he bailed, lebron man just do it!!!..

  • misso

    except magic could close

  • Mooney10

    LBJ has to take the shot, I don’t care if it’s a pick-up game, you are the best, start taking those shots! No one cares if a guy like that misses, its only a deal when you don’t take it, no one is taking the ball from Bird, MJ, Kobe, Durant, Magic in those situations…ubnless its Wade lol. I’m not mad at him though, guy is still the best in the League in my book, just hope he uses this in the future. MVP this year, and he got the title this year to, I know it. People gotta stop being haters cuz he doesn’t have a ring, MJ didn’t get one til year 8, keep you’re head Bron!

  • bike

    The title of this piece is missleading. LeBron is comparing his personality to Magic’s personality. As in, it’s possible to be a fun loving guy everbody adores and win multiple chips at the same time.

  • http://juan.garcia@computershare.com POW

    Truth is LBJ is more like Wilt. Dominant numbers… little to show for rings.

  • T-Money

    that’s what confuses me about the “killer mentality”. it’s like people keep forgetting that magic won 5 while smiling and supporting teammates or that duncan won 4 while being on neutral lol. you have to be comfortable in your own skin. mj and kobe preferred to play angry, good for them. but that’s not the only way to win.

  • http://juan.garcia@computershare.com POW

    If you remember Magic in 84 was called “Tragic Johnson” for not knowing how to handle the last seconds of a ball game. The very next year in the Finals, with an open Kareem near the hoop, he passed him up and shot a baby sky hook to defeat the Celtics. I’m sure at that point his thought process was “f_ck the pass… I’m gonna win this mopho right here!” and the rest was history.

  • Sean B

    @POW that was 87, dude. Kareem was finals MVP in 85. But like others have said, the whole idea that Magic wasn’t a killer are way off. Magic did whatever he had to do to win, shoot or pass.

  • http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1122425/index.htm nbk

    Magic was swept out of the playoffs twice. Most famously in 84, where Trajic was part of a Sports Illustrated Story – \
    “Give [him] the ball, a few fleet teammates, a little adrenaline, and he’s off, running. He “just wants to have fun.” That’s all well and good, and for most of the NBA season it’s a productive attitude, one that pleases fans. He has his fun and seems to run the break and run up his statistical totals almost effortlessly. He has bushels of “triple doubles”-games in which he reaches double figures in points, rebounds and assists.
    Presumably, the bigger the game, the bigger the production. But you can’t have fun in the clutch; [you] can’t crack a smile in the clutch. The clutch is a crucible.
    Late in games during the championship series… announcing [teams] would make the obligatory comments about how players like [him] love such moments. Yet, time and time again, we saw evidence of [his] distaste for them.”
    Click my name for the whole article.

  • bull22

    lebron would be better off allowing time, other players, the media and the fans determine who he compares to or what his place in nba history will be
    rather then trying to sell to the public who he is or why we should be comparing him to other greats… real ego maniac.

  • Monte Moire

    After watching the ASG and watching many of the games that Lebron has played over the years, you can actually see how he compares his game to Magic’s. Magic was never one to dominate a game. He would look to get his teammates going first and in the process, slowly get himself involved into the flow of the offense. Before you know it, Magic would have 20/12/10 and some steals thrown in with a few blocks, this is Lebron. I don’t think that he has the “killer” mentality, otherwise we would have seen it over these last 9 years. But that’s ok. It is fun watching Lebron play. The guy is fun to watch. We have to enjoy watching this young man, while we can.

  • LOL

    WTH didn’t everyone watch the game at the end?

    Lebron had “2″ defenders on him at the last 5sec mark. kobe and durant.

    he made a right move by passing the ball.

    if he shot the ball, that would’ve been a “bad shot”

    even MJ, that would’ve been a bad shot.

    when you’re double, you’re gonna miss 80% of the time. YES EVEN JORDAN.

    ya’ll idiots, especially skip bayless lol

  • Matt

    He doesn’t have it and he never will.

  • Steve

    Lebron should have his mouth washed out with soap for even speaking his name in the same sentence as Magic. Lebron is a choke artist. He doesn’t find the way to win nor does he make everyboday around him better. He finds a way to lose and couldn’t even win when they surrounded hime with a bunch of talent. The fact that he passed on the last shot shows you that HE KNOWS HE’S NOT THE GO TO GUY.

  • Paul

    It doesn’t matter whatever LBJ said about his game. What matters most is that he’s the best player right now. You guys who are haters of LBJ, get the ball and play against the best talents of national basketball. if you are productive like him then hate him the way you hate evil. Appreciate rather than hate. :) )