Players (and people in general) from prior generations almost always think the generations following them are softer. The “Showtime” version of the Los Angeles Lakers was also a title contender and a far better team than the current 19-win outfit taking the floor every night.
It’s important to add that preface before getting into Lakers president Magic Johnson’s latest comments, and to obviously note that he may not have meant them as a dig at the current roster, but rather a compliment to his former team.
Magic Johnson on if any current Laker could fit in with 80's Lakers teams: "No one could fit in the 80's." He said Kobe and Shaq could.— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 28, 2017
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal certainly could have played in any era, that much is certain.
Could any member of the current Lakers have made the “Showtime” team? It seems likely a few could have, at the very least, cracked the end of the bench, but it’s also not surprising Magic wouldn’t call out his little-used teammates nearly 40 years later for no reason.
However, the NBA is more talented now than it’s ever been. Players are more athletic, versatile, and skilled than ever. Showtime was obviously a great team, but the myth of the ‘80s being some endlessly talented generation of basketball that no current “soft” player could play in is just incorrect, and hopefully is just an example of Magic pumping up his generation and having fun, rather than the honest evaluation of someone who will be making basketball decisions for the Lakers.