Magic Johnson discusses how he would do if he played in today’s NBA

Lakers legend Magic Johnson spoke at Cal State Long Beach's Carpenter Performing Arts Center on a range of topics including; his childhood, basketball career, business acumen and even touched on Clippers ownership.  At the beginning of the speech, Magic spanned the stage so that people could take "selfies" with him. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Lakers legend Magic Johnson spoke at Cal State Long Beach’s Carpenter Performing Arts Center on a range of topics including; his childhood, basketball career, business acumen and even touched on Clippers ownership. At the beginning of the speech, Magic spanned the stage so that people could take “selfies” with him.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

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.”

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  • Linkdeville

    Before I comment, let me point out my bias to Magic. I think he is the best to ever do it. Now that that’s out there, here we go. Magic would do well in today’s NBA. I say so because if you look at the element he brought to “Showtime” he was actually on another level. He commanded the floor like no other and put his team in an elevated play style. I can recall when Kareem said (on a doc) how Magic did the “no-look” and hit him in the head. They had to learn to expect the unexpected. When they did, they won. Magic is the GOAT!

  • Khoa Tran

    magic is the prototype and lebron the production…. imagine if magic did weight training and speed conditioning the way todays athletes do… sure …they had Riley…. and the late night all cities spread eagle offense he attacked…but thats endurance training….