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Magic vs Bird


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
These two players will forever be linked together. Their rivalry began in college. In your opinion, who was the better player?


Registered Member
Johnson and it isn't even close.

Magic played all 5 positions in a championship series game. Lakers lead the 76'ers 3 games to 2, however Kareem Abdul Jabbar sprained his ankle in game 5, and was unavailable for game 6. Paul Westhead decided to start Johnson at center in Game 6; Johnson recorded 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in a 123–107 win, while playing guard, forward, and center at different times during the game.

Bird was a great competitor to be sure, but Johnson was the more skillful player.


Registered Member
Magic was a slightly better player. He is a top 10 all-time player. Bird is a top 20 level player. Both were cut down early - Bird by his back and Magic by HIV. Magic's Lakers won the West in 1980, 82-85, 87-89, 91. 9 out of 12 years. 5 titles.

Some say Magic is a top 4 player. I don't agree, but I see the argument. Bird was a great player, particularly 1980-86, but he was old when he entered the league and his period of dominance was short. His playoff stats were also somewhat worse than his regular season stats.


Registered Member
Never got to see them play, wish I had though, but I think Magic was better because of his combination of size, passing ability, and playmaking. Was an all-around player who could take over if needed.