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Kobe and LeBron’s Quest to Pass Jordan Makes them Rivals Reviewed by Momizat on . There's a moment between Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan that marks a transition in the NBA. It's described in the book When the Game Was There's a moment between Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan that marks a transition in the NBA. It's described in the book When the Game Was Rating:
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Kobe and LeBron’s Quest to Pass Jordan Makes them Rivals

There’s a moment between Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan that marks a transition in the NBA. It’s described in the book When the Game Was Ours, written by Johnson and Bird with Jackie MacMullan. Johnson, Bird and Jordan are going back and forth discussing which NBA team is the greatest of all time, but in doing so, Bird comes to the realization that the league now belongs to Jordan and all he and Magic have are the great memories of the rivalry they had between them.

“I feel sorry for you,” Magic told Jordan. “You will never have what Larry and I had. We went two weeks without sleep knowing, if we made one mistake, the other guy was going to take it and use it to beat us. Who do you measure yourself against?”

At the time when Magic said this to His Airness, Jordan had just won back-to-back championships and MVP awards, he was the future of the NBA and all Magic and Bird could do was concede that their time had passed. While Jordan didn’t have a single individual to rival against and help catapult his game–he didn’t need one. The entire NBA playing field was his measuring stick. Once he figured out how to channel his competitiveness and insatiable desire to win to his teammates, it made the 90′s Chicago Bulls unstoppable.

Fast-forward a couple decades and the search for rivalries in today’s NBA yields slim results. There aren’t any more natural rivalries being formed. At least not to the level of say Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, and most definitely not like Bird and Magic.

Next: Not all rivalries are apparent or even form naturally

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  • Carlito

    Lebron is a badass player with natural talent for basketall but com’on i dont think the guy will ever catch Jordan or Kobe, he has ZERO rings, i think he will be 27 this year + (MAYBE) a lost year bc the NBA lockout, if he wants to win at least 5 titles he has to extend his prime into his 30s which i don’t see it happening, Lebron is a beast but father time beats them all, just ask MJ and kobe

  • Leo Libranel

    I agree! LeBron is today best player, but his talents with the ball can’t come close to Kobe, and definitely not Jordan, Magic and Bird! All of them great players are all-time greats because they shined in moments that other people would shrink away, the crunch time. LeBron is gonna have to learn how to be a clutch player and use that to win multiple championships to prove that he belongs to that category! And with him now in Miami, he needs to have at least 3 championships to be in that category, and maybe not even then. You can’t measure LeBron against Kobe’s greatness.

  • Leo

    Btw, to be fair, Jordan has wayyy more competition back then! There were more all-star caliber players back then! Reggie , Chuck , Hakeem, David Robinson, Stockton, Marlone… Jordan definitely had his own share of tests!

  • FatSam

    “the two will be chasing each other to be considered the best there ever was.”

    Oh, please. Five rings to zero. This is the silliest thing I’ve read in a month.

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