May 18, 2024

Magic Johnson is the greatest point guard of all time.

That news comes straight from … Magic Johnson.

During a CBS Sports Radio interview with Zach Gelb this week, the Lakers legend was asked if Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry had surpassed him as the GOAT at their position. The question was prompted by Curry declaring himself the best point guard over Johnson during a podcast appearance this summer.

Johnson responded to Gelb’s question by asking if the statistics indicate that a changing of the guard has taken place.

When Gelb answered, “Not yet,” a straight-faced Johnson replied:

“OK, so, if he got more than five championships, if he got more than three Finals MVPs, and three league MVPs, then he’s the greatest. If he got more than No. 1 in assists all-time in the Finals, No. 2 in double-doubles [in the playoffs and Finals], No. 1 in triple-doubles all-time in the NBA playoffs, No. 4 in steals all-time in the playoffs, if he got more than those numbers, then he’s the best.”

Finally, Johnson laughed and broke out his trademark smile.

“If he got more than all those things, he’s the best,” Johnson said. “But the last time I checked, he doesn’t.”

Both men have played close to the same number of games at this point (Johnson 906, Curry 882 and counting). Curry has won four championships and has been named Finals MVP once and league MVP twice, and he pretty much has no chance of catching Johnson in any of the categories Johnson rattled off.

But note that Johnson didn’t say anything about, say, three-point shooting. That’s probably because Curry ranks No. 1 all-time in that category for both playoffs and the Finals (as well as the regular season, although Johnson was more focused on postseason numbers). Curry is considered one of the best shooters, a claim Johnson has never been able to make, so the Warriors superstar could just as easily handpick a bunch of categories where he clearly outshines Johnson.

OK, so each player has picked himself as the best point guard. Now what?

Johnson got it right when he told Gelb, “Everybody has to decide for themselves who they think the best is.”


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