Pat Riley and Magic Johnson are two living basketball legends, and the duo came together in Los Angeles for an American Express promotional event to talk about the NBA Finals, reminisce on old times and shoot the breeze together. The Hall of Famers are Lakers royalty, and while Riley has taken his talents to South Beach, he’ll always be looked at fondly in LA.
That’s because the Showtime Lakers, Riley and Magic define an era of basketball. A generation of fans were born on the back of Showtime taking the NBA by storm, with a fast-paced, free-wheeling style that teams simply couldn’t compete against back in the day.
It doesn’t hurt that Johnson was a generational talent, which might be why Riley called Magic the greatest NBA player of all-time Monday night during the event, as shared by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
That’s high praise coming from Riley, who watched Jordan dominate and housed LeBron James for years in Miami. Magic captured five rings in eight years, becoming a crossover superstar for the NBA. His career was cut short, of course, so we’ll never know what could have been further down the road in his playing days.
Uncle Pat wasn’t done there, though. He also thinks a Prime Magic would take down a Prime LeBron in a one-on-one setting:
Riley said Magic would beat LeBron 1 on 1 in their prime. Riley: "He would never call a foul & LeBron would respect him as an elder"— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 6, 2017
Meanwhile, just a day ago Johnson was thrilled to share the record for most triple-doubles in the NBA Finals with James (8), who tied the Magic Man in Game 2:
LeBron said right now this means nothing, but it will someday. "He's one of the greatest to play this game," he said of Johnson. https://t.co/8RmyRlBpHm— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) June 5, 2017
Magic is a dark horse in the GOAT debate, but we can all agree that he’s one of the few players you can even put in that conversation.
And a little Magic for your time on the way out: