Shut Up Michael Jordan (And Magic Johnson, And Probably Larry Bird Eventually)

Shut up, Michael Jordan. Nobody should be listening to you. You were an excellent basketball player—probably the best ever—but you are an arrogant, selfish idiot. We all know that by now.

So nobody should care that you said you would never have called Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and asked them to join you on the same team: “There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team.’” Oh, really? “With hindsight,” you wouldn’t make drastic changes to what pretty much everyone agrees was the greatest professional basketball career of all time? Shocking.

What about without hindsight? What about when you were 25, like LeBron James is now, and you, like LeBron James, had never won an NBA title?

“In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.” But, presumably, you were not trying to beat future Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, who was on your team for all six of your championships. Oh, and good job with the whole “trying to beat those guys” thing. Your 0-8 playoff record against Larry Bird is truly the crown jewel of your legacy.

Which brings us to Magic Johnson, who Jordan did ultimately succeed in beating, for his first NBA Title, in 1991. Magic, who just echoed Jordan’s sentiment by saying he would never have joined forces with LeBron James. Magic, who never won an NBA Finals without Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. Magic, who won four of his five NBA titles playing for the man who just recruited LeBron to Miami.

Obviously Magic, who was part of the most storied individual rivalry in NBA history, would not have joined forces with Larry Bird. They had been rivals since college, when they played one of the most memorable national title games against each other. From 1980 to 1987, either Larry Bird or Magic Johnson was the NBA Finals MVP five of eight times. They faced each other three times in the Finals in those years.

As I’ve said before, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have never met in the playoffs. They didn’t play against each other in college. For the last four years, neither has had a decent supporting cast. Their situations bear little resemblance to the careers of Magic, Jordan, and Larry, aside from the fact that they are both very good professional basketball players.

It’s not that I expect Jordan and Magic to say anything but the thinly veiled criticisms of LeBron they’ve offered so far—it’s the job of faded stars to complain that this generation isn’t as tough as the last. But that doesn’t mean we have to take them seriously. Jordan and Magic never faced the decision LeBron faced, so how they would have responded to it is irrelevant—comparisons between these greats are doomed to fail. As Charles Barkley said of LeBron (to quote one last former NBA star), “He’ll never be Jordan.” That’s right, but being LeBron James is pretty good too.

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23 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jim on July 21, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    I laughed during this post (not a bad thing). It makes a lot of sense, good job!

    Reply

  2. Posted by sugobofni on July 21, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    You sound like one of LeBoner’s crybaby entourage. Why don’t you go back to South Beach and suck your thumb.

    Reply

  3. Posted by adi on July 21, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Good Post. I laughed as well. This is honestly what I have been thinking, at first i was like wtf is bron doing, he’s tarnished his legacy, but he’s going to have fun with his boys Bosh and Wade, and who can blame him? I’m not a fan of either Bosh, Wade, Lebron, and really hoped they would NOT come to the Bulls because of how they were going about this Offseason (during the season I wanted Wade to come though), the situations were totally different-the cast those three had and MANAGEMENT (Cavs should have given up Hickson for Amare). Kobe had Shaq, or should I say Shaq had Kobe and that team was unstoppable and the league was pretty weak. Kobe wanted to be the man and could just get the Lakers to the playoffs (until better help came, before that he was complaining). Without Jordan that Bulls team, still went to the Eastern Conference Finals!! No way in hell are the Cavalier going to make it that far this coming year, hell not even the playoffs. Bron carried that team to a Finals appearance…He went about announcing his decision all wrong, so stupid, but his actual choice? Can’t blame him, will he ever be considered the GOAT? Probably not ,but who cares.

    Jordan (I’m from Chicago), every time he makes the news, it’s for something stupid, he does have the best career, and he was incredible on the court, but off it-?? MJ changed the game in so many ways, and as of now is the GOAT, and probably for awhile…and how he transcended the game, probably AT = All Time.

    Okay I’m done rambling, and for the record, I will be cheering AGAINST the Lakers (most hated team for me since 1999) and to a lesser extent the Heat (Celtics are going to beat them in the playoffs). Go Bulls and Mavs!! Love Nowitzkiii

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/415330-legacy-lebron-james-vs-larry-bird-magic-johnson-and-michael-jordan (good article)

    Reply

  4. Posted by Smiling on July 21, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    This is soooo on point!!!!! Yes, all of you PLEASE SHUT and reliving your “hey day” because it’s over!!!! None of you were in LeBron’s shoes before so how can you speak on what you would or wouldn’t have done? It was a decision he had every RIGHT to make! He paid his dues in Cleveland – 7 losing years – let him move on with his life and finally WIN!

    Reply

  5. Posted by Norma on July 21, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Yes, PLEASE ALL OF YOU SHUT UP!!!!!!
    As much respect as I have for Magic Johnson, Michael Jordon they need to keep there opinons to themselves. As for charles barkley great example I would not listen to anything he has to say. Barkley go back and play the slots in vegas. The only reason they are so worried is Lebron will end up with more rings then they have. It’s all about the rings right.

    Reply

  6. Posted by TheRKOvilLIAN305 on September 3, 2010 at 3:31 AM

    Thanks for the article i agree completely!! Lebron james has the ability to surpass all of them dont get me wrong i respect the legends but lets look at their history were to start magic johnson he was a great point guard perhaps the greatest of all time but didnt he play with the greatest center all time Kareem abdul Jabbar how about the fact he played with big game james worthy who was 20 pts a night and a first ballot hall of famer like Kareem not only that he had michael cooper are you kidding me that dude was a great player so Magic cant really talk like that because he played with hall of famers and great players if he was by himself on a team he couldnt carry it I truely believe he would never be able to pull a Lebron James get the cavaliers to the nba finals alone by himself and led them to back to back 60 winning seasons!! Next….

    Larry Bird he was the greatest small forward all time but lets get something clear Larry bird never did it alone he played with Kevin mchale who arguably is the greatest power forward all time and a first ballot hall of famer he was 20pts 10rebs a night that was the player he was not only that he played with the most durable player in the league robert parrish who also is a hall of famer and was a banger in the low post larry bird was good but he couldnt do it alone understand that he had a great team with hall of famers as well!!! Next……

    Charles Barkley im not going to waste alot of time with this guy the people on the list won championships honestly he never won NOTHING!!! he was a 1time Mvp a 11 time all star he made it to the finals once and got OWNED!!! the funny thing is why is this guy talking about Lebron when Lebron surpassed Charles barkley in his 5th year in the NBA…..Charles joined a team late in his career he was desperate and failed Charles my man stick to eating donuts and making tmobile commercials!!!!!! Next……Last but not least…..

    Michael Jordan the greatest shooting guard all time I can understand where he is coming from he didnt offend Lebron James in anyway but understand this Jordan used to get owned by the Bad Boy Pistons he could never seem to beat Isiah thomas and Joe dumars he was stuck for a long while until this first ballot hall of famer Scottie Pippen who was really underrated came to town and helped Jordan win not only that they had a rebounding machine named Dennis Rodman who was a beast down low he also had steve kerr, toni kukoc, ron harper, the list goes on they were good players Jordan was great but if he didnt get help from Pippen and Rodman Jordan would have zero rings!!

    Thanks sorry bout the long description Lebron James Miami heat equal dynasty

    Reply

  7. Posted by DaBandit on September 3, 2010 at 4:07 AM

    Lebron James accomplishments records:
    2x NBA most valuable player
    2004 NBA rookie of the year
    6x NBA all star
    1x scoring title
    4x All NBA first Team
    2x All NBA second Team
    2x All Star game MVP
    Youngest player to score 15,000 points
    Youngest player to get a double double
    In a special class of rookies to average 20pts 5ast 5reb
    Led his team by himself to the NBA Finals(I know he lost but hey he was by himself)
    Only his 7th year in the NBA and he has all those accomplishments thats CRAZY!!!!!

    Magic Johnson accomplishments and records:
    5x NBA Champion
    3x NBA MVP
    12x NBA all Star
    9x NBA ALL First Team
    1x NBA ALL Second Team
    2x NBA ALL Star game MVP
    Was the only rookie to win NBA Finals Mvp thats crazy
    The greatest point guard all time
    He played with Kareem abdul Jabbar the greatest center of all time and he played with Big Game James Worthy 2 first ballet hall of famers
    He played 17 seasons in the NBA

    Larry Bird accomplishments and records:
    3x NBA Champion
    3x NBA MVP
    12x NBA All Star
    2x NBA Finals MVP
    9x All NBA First Team
    3x All NBA Second Team
    1x NBA ALL Star Game MVP
    The greatest 3pt shooter of all time
    He was 3x all NBA defense Team
    Larry Bird played with Kevin Mchale arguably the greatest power forward in the game and Robert Parrish who played the most games in the NBA 2 first ballot hall of famers
    Larry Bird played 13 seasons in the NBA

    Charles Barkley accomplishments and records:
    1xNBA MVP
    11x Nba All Star
    4x…………WAIT Lebron surpassed this guy and Lebron only played seven years in the league…..NEXT
    Charles barkley played 16 seasons in the NBA

    Michael Jordan accomplishments and records:
    6x NBA Champion
    5x NBA Most Valuable Player
    14x NBA All Star
    6x NBA Finals MVP
    1x NBA Defensive Player of the Year
    1985 NBA Rookie of the Year
    9x NBA All First Defensive Team
    3x NBA ALL Star Game MVP
    Michael Jordan is greatest player of all time
    Michael Jordan is remembered for two of the most famous shoots against the cavaliers ello the game winner and the Utah Jazz byron Russel the greatest shot ever
    Michael Jordan came back at 38 years old for the wizards and averaged 20pts and 6rebs
    Michael Jordan played 14 seasons in the NBA

    As you can see Lebron has surpassed Charles Barkley already but Lebron has a good 10 more years left in him he is a guranteed all star for the rest of his career will probably win 2 or 3 more MVPs win 3 NBA championships(if not more) and will make NBA first team for 8 to 9 more years and All Nba Defensive team for like 7 more years he will break the records set by everyone and probably be the greatest to ever play the game!!!!!!! thanks

    Reply

  8. […] to touch on LeBron’s Decision, the fallout, the betrayal felt in Cleveland, the criticisms he took from Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, his new role as the NBA’s Bad Guy, the attacks on LeBron’s “handlers” this season, his […]

    Reply

  9. Posted by pRhyME on October 26, 2010 at 10:42 PM

    “Jordan and Magic never faced the decision LeBron faced”

    duh, obviously that was because they resigned with their teams. so they never directly faced the decision lebron faced, but they COULD have faced that same decision IF they did not resign with their team.

    “so how they would have responded to it is irrelevant”

    they did respond to that same decision, but in a different way, by resigning with their team and not trying to get on a superstar team to win a championship because they thought that was the only way they could win a ring.

    Reply

  10. “In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.” But, presumably, you were not trying to beat future Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, who was on your team for all six of your championships.

    thats bullshit. dont forget that scottie came as rookie to the bulls. nobody knew how good he would play years later.

    and never forget, without jordan player like bron would never get so much money and 90 seconds commercials today. as first nba superstar he smooth the way for future nba superstars. without jordan you would never make this blog, cause nobody cares who lebron is.

    Reply

  11. […] to touch on LeBron’s Decision, the fallout, the betrayal felt in Cleveland, the criticisms he took from Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, his new role as the NBA’s Bad Guy, the attacks on LeBron’s “handlers” this season, his […]

    Reply

  12. Posted by Dave on November 7, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    EH, there was a lot of colluding with them coming together that’s the issue that I think they are speaking of.

    Reply

  13. […] view of championships. John wondered why everyone claimed James was being selfish and then told some of his most well-known critics to shut their mouths. Finally, he took on the infamous Nike commerical, […]

    Reply

  14. Posted by Collin Coffey on June 28, 2011 at 4:46 AM

    I was never a die-hard basketball fan, but when I watched Magic it was like watching a Harlem GlobeTrotter…he was amazing. sometimes he reminded us he was human and missed some easy shots (like in a few finals against the celtics) and other times he was near perfect. Funny enough I came to this post after having a dream with him in it…he was at a charity function at a H.S…it seemed so real and, like dreams he was larger than life. Great personality, great smile and an honest love for the game. Not sure why, but I think he is the greatest of all time. Maybe it’s just the games I watched in the early 80s. I remember watching the Bulls win in the finals and it just seemed so inevitable. And, Jordan looked so great and truly performed but in a way it was predictable because the offense seemed to be geared for it. When he wasn’t on, Kerr would bail him out (I think he hit 6/6 3pointers in one finals game). Jordan was a better athlete. In my opinion, Magic was just a better player. And, when Kareem was injured he led his team to victory in game 6 of his rookie year scoring 42 pts. I watched that game as a kid and just thought, “man, that was incredible”. He was The greatest of all time (GOAT) for simply loving the game. He made the triple-double trendy and just ran the floor. At 6’9″ he slumped down low and played keep away with the ball and when he got running no one could pass as well. He got a little pudgy and slowed down late in his years and who could blame him…he had already changed the game. I marvel at how Jordan played the game and Dwane Wade when he is on is unstoppable, but no one left me with the feeling that I was watching the greatest player in the game as when Magic ran the floor in his prime. Quite simply he owned it.

    As far as LeBron goes, the future is his. He has the ability to be amazing and he actually played very unselfishly. It was Dallas’ time. Sometimes an individual can be swept away by another teams’ momentum. I think LeBron did pretty good. It’s too bad the detractors are focusing on the negative because it’s taking away the whole reason these guys got into the sport, ‘to realize their dreams’ and ‘for the love of the game’.

    Reply

  15. First of all, Jordan was so competitive that he would have never joined magic or bird…even without hindsight. And so what if Jordan had pippen, every star needs a good sidekick but two stars is over the top. If Lebron wins so what, he did it with wade and bosh. And guess what? He failed already with wade and bosh. What sets Jordan and Kobe apart (and I love Lebron) is their competitiveness and will. Lebron would rather be with his friends, we’ve seen that. He doesn’t have the mentality of Jordan and Kobe. That’s why Kobe and Jordan are at the top. Jordan even before winning titles new he could do it without the help of a hall of fame team. The only dream team he played formwasmthe 92 USA team

    Reply

  16. Posted by Steve b on June 12, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Your finding all kinds of facts and stats which is great, but anyone can tell this whole writing is purely a bias standpoint cuz for some reason you like lebron even tho he ran away from his team(which Jordan, magic, and bird never did). There’s really no difference from your post and the arguments I get in with heat and lebron fans every day, so I just hope you don’t think you made any points that every single one of them make at the water dispenser several times a day at work. With that said I will offer my thoughts on the subject: I think what magic and mike mean is that they would never do what lebron did in Lebrons circumstances. Yes their circumstances were different, but it doesn’t change the fact that they disagree with Lebrons move. Lebron was with his home state team the cave, he was loved, he was blazing, he was setting records, his team had the best record in the league twice and went to the finals once. He was on pace with mjs career or better. Then..he made an awful decision. He decided to join Dwayne wade in Miami. D-wade and Kobe are arguably equal to lebron in skill and impact. THAT is what those legends would never have done. Lebron could have kept trucking along with cleveland but he punked out, threw in the towel, high fived dwayne wade(an nba champion) and said “I’m tired of working for a championship, help.” another thing, you can’t say mj and pippen is the same as lbj and dwade. Your saying this and that about how the retired stars in question experienced different circumstances. Now THAT is WAY different circumstances, cuz let’s face it, mj made pippen great. He would not have won without mj. After winning that many championships as a starter, ANYONE would be inducted in the hall of fame. I rest my case, I think lebron is the best player to ever play the game and I was a big fan when he was in Cleveland and had mad respect for him. But when he moved to Miami he lost all of that. I’m a huge fan of the nba as a whole and that was the biggest BS move I’ve ever ever seen, all sports

    Reply

    • Posted by Anthony on December 27, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      Lebron is the best player to play the game. What a ridiculous comment. Not on my starting 5. Jordan was so much better and pisition was Bird was a killer. Your an idiot!

      Reply

  17. […] doubts about his ability will seem more foolish. Before you know it, some of the same people saying he could never be Jordan will be saying he’s even […]

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  18. Posted by Mike on July 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    To the guy who wrote this: You are an absolute buffoon.

    Reply

  19. Posted by Shaniqwa on December 12, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    yo this is retarded stop hating

    Reply

  20. […] those, he repeatedly wilted in the face of tough, team oriented rivals. Perhaps wilted is too mild a term. He got brutalized. […]

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  21. Posted by Anthony on December 27, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Dumb horrible article. First of all, Pippen was drafted by Seattle and immediately traded to Chicago so in the beginning Chicago did not know what they had. Jabbar was already a Laker when Magic was drafted. The Lakers and Chicago did not go out and get a top 5 player through free agency while having Magic and Michael as their star. Lebron is 2-3 in the finals and without the Ray Allen miracle against the Spurs 1-4.
    I totally agree with Michael and Magic. Todays nba players hug after games. It is a joke.

    Reply

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