Magic Johnson points to Finals MVPs, other accolades, as he destroys Stephen Curry in GOAT point guard debate

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read

Former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Magic Johnson recently made his case for why he’s still the greatest point guard ever ahead of Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.

“Well, does the numbers say that, Zach?” Johnson said when asked if Curry has surpassed him as the best point guard ever. “So if he got more than five championships, if he got more than three Finals MVP 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, 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, he’s the best.”

Johnson was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft following a two-season stint playing college basketball at Michigan State University. He led the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA title.

The 6-foot-9 point guard owns one of the greatest resumes of any player — not just point guard — in NBA history. He is a 12-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA selection, two-time All-Star Game MVP, four-time assists champion, two-time steals champion and member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

But, most importantly, Johnson led the Lakers to five NBA titles in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988, while Curry owns just four championship rings.

Johnson had to go through Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers for his first two titles in 1980 and 1982. The Lakers played the 76ers in the 1980 and 1982 NBA Finals and won both series in six games. Johnson was only a rookie during the 1980 NBA Finals but still managed to win the Finals MVP award.

For his next two titles in 1985 and 1987, the floor general beat Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Johnson averaged 26.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 13.0 assists per game against Boston in the 1987 NBA Finals.

Johnson won his fifth and final ring after the Lakers defeated Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons in seven games in the 1988 NBA Finals. The Lakers won Game 7 by a final score of 108-105.

It’s debatable whether Johnson or Curry is the greatest point guard ever to play in the NBA. Johnson has a great case for being the best point guard in NBA history, but Curry also has a solid chance of winning another title before he retires to tie Johnson’s ring count at five.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.