Magic Johnson got riled up by one student asking a question during his talk at Long Beach State University Monday evening. How does he think he would do if he played in the NBA today?
“If I played in this era, it would be over,” said Johnson. “See right now, there is no hand check. Back in my day, you could hand check. You could hard foul. They got private planes now. We had to take commercial and we were still winning 62 games. And all they do is shoot jumpers today too.”
“Don’t get me started, I’m sweating like I’m getting ready to play.”
While Johnson said he would thrive in today’s scoring friendly game, he offered up a couple players that could play in his NBA era. Those names included Lakers star Kobe Bryant and the Heat’s LeBron James.
“Could you imagine Michael Jordan with no hand checking? Larry Bird?” said Johnson.
At that point, Johnson went back on stage to demonstrate his rivalry with Bird and Jordan and their notorious trash talking. He showed the crowd how Bird would call his shots and ask why Johnson was bothering trying to stop his shot, moments before sinking the attempt. Or the time the Celtic great asked his peers during a three-point shooting contest who was coming in second because he was taking first.
“Larry Bird was unbelievable, up here with this,” said Johnson, pointing to his head. “That’s why Kobe is so dominate. He’s got game but his basketball IQ is off the charts.”