Battle of Los Angeles: Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant?
He wasn’t joking. ‘The Greatest of All Time’ was serious. He actually thinks he is the greatest of all time.
Well, sort of. Recently, Shaquille O’Neal declared himself and Kobe Bryant the greatest duo in Los Angeles Lakers history. Yes, he went there, stepping on the legacy of past purple-and-gold legends.
I was disappointed with the post’s comments. In the past, his infectious smile, big laugh, and playful wink would giveaway that he was having a gag. Not this time. He meant it. Every word.
Yet, I applauded ‘Magic’ Johnson for responding to Shaq’s comments on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.
"Really? We just start counting our rings. We (Magic and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) got five. They’ve got three. So they’re better than us?"
I couldn’t have said it better. Greatness is measured in championships. Nothing else. Lawrence O’Brien trophies, specifically the number you win, is the currency amongst once-in-a-generation, Hall of Fame superstars.
Special players should add to the game. Magic showed a 6-9 guy could play point guard, while Kareem invented the skyhook. Together, they battled the Boston Celtics in some of basketball’s most epic duels. Shaq and Kobe are active players, so right now they can’t measure up in this respect, either.
Finally, I remember Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar for what they were –an amazing inside-outside duo that dominated. I remember O’Neal and Bryant for what they should have been –a great duo that never reached their full potential because of personal differences. That says everything.
The joke is really on ‘The Greatest of All Time’, I guess.