In Jordan’s 1987 Nike commercial, he said: “They call me Magic.” The NBA superstar paid Johnson a moving compliment in the 1988 film They Call Me Mr. Tibbs!
Michael Jordan paid Magic Johnson a moving compliment in “They Call Me Magic.”. Read more in detail here: michael jordan and magic johnson.
Whether you remember Michael Jordan as a basketball player or simply know him from the movie The Last Dance, virtually everyone is aware of his legendary competitive drive. His Airness had to be the greatest no matter what the competition was like. While MJ’s attitude contributed to his status as a living legend, it also meant he wasn’t the friendliest man in the league. Things, on the other hand, might be a bit different in retirement. The former Chicago Bulls great still has fire in his belly, but he can temper it at times. That’s exactly what Magic Johnson said.
Despite the fact that They Call Me Magic has yet to be released to the general public, the series had its official debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Johnson overheard Jordan giving him a nice complement. His remarks, unsurprisingly, moved the Lakers legend.
Magic Johnson, according to Michael Jordan, deserves all of the credit for revolutionizing basketball.
During the 1992 Olympics, Michael Jordan (L) and Magic Johnson (R) competed. | Karl Mathis/AFP via Getty Images
Michael Jordan is credited with defining the contemporary NBA environment due to a mix of variables – he was very skilled and had an unwavering drive to win, but he also had the good fortune of playing at a period when basketball became a worldwide sport. His Airness, on the other hand, puts the credit in the chronology earlier.
“Everyone wants to credit Michael Jordan with altering the NBA,” the former Chicago Bulls player stated in the first episode of They Call Me Magic, according to Variety. “But when Magic Johnson came in, that’s when the game transformed.”
Johnson, as you would guess, was grateful for those remarks. His Airness’ statements “touched” him, according to Variety, which also included a quotation from the main man himself.
“I was up there laughing and practically sobbing at the same time, hearing my family speak, Larry Bird talk, and Michael say what he said, which was very wonderful,” Magic added. “We’d never heard it from Michael, that everyone assumed he was the one who turned the league around, but that I was a significant part of it.”
We should remember that MJ isn’t the first person to credit Magic for altering the NBA.
On how he and Magic Johnson transformed the NBA, Larry Bird says:
“It’s funny, all through my career they always say, ‘You helped save the NBA.’ But there’s a lot of people who helped save this NBA, it didn’t start with us.” pic.twitter.com/In07nefUuG
— Andscape (@andscape_) October 9, 2019
If Michael Jordan goes on the record as saying that Magic Johnson deserves credit for altering the NBA, it’s reasonable to infer that he really believes it. His Airness, on the other hand, isn’t the first celebrity to express that viewpoint.
On a January 2022 edition of The Steam Room podcast, Charles Barkley noted, “I remember when I first got my trademark sneaker in like the late ’80s.” “And then there’s Michael Jordan and his Jordan brand.” It’s completely insane. And, as I often say, Michael Jordan is the reason we’re all earning so much money. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were the catalysts. I’ve always believed that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird rescued the NBA. They believed it was too Black, a gang of criminals and drug addicts, but when Magic and Bird arrived, things began to change. Then Michael elevated it to a whole new level.”
Chuck has also voiced similar opinions on Inside the NBA, saying that Jordan, Bird, and Johnson are the three most important people in NBA history. On one occasion, Magic even took to Twitter to thank Sir Charles for the compliment.
While it’s all too easy for sports fans to fall back on “back in my day” and say that older is better, Jordan’s remarks regarding Magic highlight an important issue. We’re now standing on the shoulders of (sporting) giants, at the risk of sounding like your seventh-grade history teacher. As much as we enjoy seeing LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA owes a lot to the preceding generation.
There is, as with most things, a reasonable middle ground. We don’t want to be enslaved by the past — that’s a certain way to miss out on the present — but there’s something to be said about understanding history. It’s easy to dismiss players from the 1980s as second-rate athleticism, but Magic Johnson deserves credit for both his on-court accomplishments and his broader effect. (It’s also worth adding that a 6-foot-9 point guard running the show and flinging alley-oops would be perfectly at home in today’s NBA, but that’s a topic for another day.)
That isn’t to argue that sports fans must be Pollyannas and believe that every player from every period is terrific. It’s more about respect; even if you were a fanatical Celtics fan who despised Magic Johnson and the Lakers, you can appreciate his skill and effect on the game. Rivalry is a powerful force, but after many sober decades since the guard’s retirement, those forces should have died down a little.
You can at least see it through the eyes of Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. If those two individuals, neither of whom is known for lavishing undeserved praise on others, can give Magic his flowers, there’s no reason why we couldn’t appreciate the guard’s contribution to the game.
Magic Johnson has publicly demanded that the Lakers trade him until they meet his one demand.