The LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant comparisons are constant these days.
But what about the comparisons to Magic Johnson?
At 6-foot-9, Johnson — who won five NBA titles and was named an All-Star 12 times — revolutionized the point guard position with his dynamic skill set. LeBron has always had an outstanding passing ability, but Johnson has seen starker similarities of late between himself and James.
“Now he’s really truly playing the point guard. He was point-forward before,” Magic Johnson told me.
“I think we do play similar and we have similar ways in terms of coming down and making our teammates better. We won championships the same way. Our games are much alike, especially now that the ball is in his hands most of the time now as a real, true point guard.”
A stats-stuffer James is currently averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 10.6 assists per game for the first place Lakers.
Scottie Pippen is another name to consider.
During the 1993-94 season, Pippen averaged 22.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game during Michael Jordan’s first retirement and guided the Chicago Bulls to a 55-27 record.
Pippen enjoyed that season thoroughly. “There was something there to give me the confidence just to talk s**t,” Scottie Pippen told me last season.
“Just having that confidence in myself instilled more confidence. It didn’t put any pressure on myself. Our team bonded so well without Michael, as far as how players responded. We felt like our offense was made for the Knicks.
“We knew we could beat the Knicks without Michael.”
Jason Kidd is another comparable.
A ten-time NBA All Star and triple double assassin, Kidd won an NBA championship toward the end of his career as a member of the Dallas Mavericks and was named co-Rookie of the Year in ‘95 with fellow Hall of Fame inductee Grant Hill. Kidd averaged 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists per contest.
On a recent episode of #STAYSCOOPED, an Instagram Live series presented by Orox Leathers, I checked in with TJ Kidd, son of J-Kidd.
We discussed LeBron James’ comparisons to Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen. We also discussed what he’s doing during the coronavirus pandemic’s quarantine and more.
Check out snippets from our dialogue below:
TJ Kidd on LeBron James being compared to Jason Kidd and Magic Johnson:
“Thats a good question. First of all, LeBron has my dad beaten athletically. We’ll start with that, because my dad isn’t going to dunk on anybody, but he’ll throw it to somebody who will! [laughs]… I think really my dad was more focused on getting everybody the ball and making his teammates better and LeBron also does that too and he’ll give you 25 or 30, where my dad really didn’t care for that. But I would say that LeBron favors more of Magic. But all three are all time greats.”
TJ Kidd on seeing a little bit of Scottie Pippen’s game in LeBron:
“Oh for sure. I think that at his size, you tip your hat to Magic and Scottie. You put them together and you have one helluva basketball player.”
TJ Kidd on being famous before social media:
“I’m happy it wasn’t. I just think that everything comes as it’s supposed to. I think that social media now and being back in that era being someone that you might have recognized. I mean, there’s a time and place for everything at the end of the day. Social media hasn’t been how it’s perceived now.”
TJ Kidd on what he remembers being at the podium at press conferences with his dad ala Riley Curry:
“It always took me forever because he was always the last one ready to go, but he gave me candy which was I know not the best parenting decision at probably 11 o’clock at night too, but I always remember always having a microphone in front of me and I never wanted to say anything. I knew I wasn’t saying anything. There’s a lot of lights in front of me [laughs]…
TJ Kidd on what he’s been doing:
“Just trying to get better at something every day. Whether it’s speaking a new language or watching music or different stuff like that. I have a keyboard and I’m learning how to play the piano. I’ve had someone digitally teaching me and then I would go to the different apps in between and that has been helpful. It kills the time, but we’re in the very beginning stage right now. We’re just learning basic stuff right now.”
TJ Kidd on playing the guitar:
“Acoustic and electric. I like the acoustic.”
TJ Kidd on what he learned from the ‘Last Dance’ that he didn’t know:
“It’s funny. After the Last Dance there were certain things that I knew, but didn’t think if they were true or not. Certain things like the flu game?… I mean, everybody has got their opinion on what it was. I mean food poisoning? It makes sense. And the fact that went out and did that WITH food poisoning, that’s just a testament to who Michael Jordan was.”
TJ Kidd on remembering Michael Jordan as a Washington Wizard:
“I remember bits and pieces. I remember watching the ’03 All-Star game not too long ago and they were talking about the Nets during the broadcast and they showed me and my mom and you see it in the all time great teams and athletes, we’re going to see it when football starts with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. You can’t imagine Tom Brady wearing another uniform doing it and doing it at a high level. I mean, we saw what Michael did with the Wizards; still putting up 50 at forty years old. This dude was the greatest and he still reminded us of that.”
TJ Kidd on Kobe Bryant being this generation’s Michael Jordan:
“Oh for sure. Without a doubt. I think Kobe was definitely the Michael Jordan of my generation.”
TJ Kidd on interactions with Kobe:
“We had a few here and there. I’ve had the very lucky opportunity to meet him a few times. He was always super nice and I think I have a photo of us together somewhere on the internet of Kobe holding the Finals trophy and shaking my hand with my dad next to me and I look at that picture and I have a whole new different appreciation for it and for what Kobe brought to the game and I’m just a kid just soaking all of it in. It’s just awesome.”