Michael Jordan rejects idea that Stephen Curry is better than Magic Johnson all time in strong text to Stephen A. Smith

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read

None other than Michael Jordan has weighed in on the debate over the greatest point guard of all time, and the NBA icon said he would put Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson over Stephen Curry as the best at the position.

Jordan explained his support of Johnson in a text message to Stephen A. Smith that the ESPN pundit read on the air.

“Although greatest of anything is always a debate, I beg to differ on greatest point guard of all time with what you said,” Smith said of what Jordan wrote. “Magic Johnson is easily the best point guard of all time. Steph Curry is very close but not in front of Magic.

“You must define point guard to really have a serious debate. Steph Curry is by far the best shooter of all time. … But Magic Johnson invented the triple-double, not true invented but makes it more noticeable in terms of the impact on the game. It’s a point guard stat, to be honest. Magic was the best.”

The topic has come up again after the Golden State Warriors superstar recently said he would rank himself ahead of Johnson as the best point guard of all time, an idea Smith agreed with.

Curry did acknowledge that the conversation comes down to him and Johnson, who last played in the NBA in the 1995-96 season after he sat out four seasons because of having HIV. Johnson played 13 NBA seasons, with Curry having played 14.

The point guards therefore have appeared in a similar amount of NBA games, Curry with 882 and Johnson with 906. Their statistics diverge from there, based primarily on their styles of play that Jordan mentioned.

Curry has averaged 24.6 points per game, while Johnson finished at 19.5 points per contest. But Johnson averaged 11.2 assists per game with Curry at 6.5 assists per outing, with the Lakers legend adding 7.2 rebounds per game compared to the Warriors standout at 4.7 rebounds per game.

Though Curry is acknowledged as an all-time great shooter, Johnson actually has the better career field-goal percentage of 52.0 percent compared to Curry’s 47.5 percent. The 35-year-old Warriors mainstay does have a distinct advantage in 3-point shooting at 42.8 percent to Johnson’s 30.3 percent.

And by way of Jordan’s comparison, Johnson had 138 triple-doubles in his NBA career, while Curry has notched 10.

This also is more than a statistical argument, with the styles of play in their different eras certainly having big effects, especially on shooting stats. Team and individual accomplishments also should weigh heavily in any debate of this type, and both Curry and Johnson have many on their resumes.

Curry is a two-time NBA MVP, two-time scoring champ and four-time NBA champion with one Finals MVP, while Johnson is a three-time NBA MVP, four-time assists leader and five-time NBA champion with three Finals MVPs.

It is a worthy conversation, and having arguably the greatest player of all time in Jordan pick someone definitely has value in the debate.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.