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Magic Johnson is the fourth-best player in NBA history

Magic Johnson was one of the best players in the league at its peak. Despite this, Magic’s career is sometimes forgotten because of his teammates and a career that was essentially cut short to 12 games because of his AIDS diagnosis.

Nick Wright believes the LA Lakers legend is among the greatest players in NBA history. In fact, Wright thinks Johnson is the fourth greatest player of all time behind both LA Lakers and Michael Jordan.

During a recent podcast, Wright said:

“Magic’s career, I just want to reiterate the bold points. He had 12 years before he had to retire because of HIV. It was during one of the most competitive eras in NBA history, the 1980’s, an era where now obviously Magic is older than Michael – came in before Michael – but where Michael didn’t get a taste of the championship and Magic Johnson won five.

While Johnson isn’t alone in powering this Lakers dynasty, he played a pivotal role in winning their championships. He eventually helped end a Boston Celtics dynasty that was the first significant threat to Jordan’s success.

At his peak, Johnson played like one of the greatest players in basketball history. Wright pointed out how good Johnson was in his prime:

“He’s made it to the finals nine times. He’s played for 12 years. In those nine years, he’s won the league MVP three times, finished second in the league MVP poll three times, and finished third three times. So 75 percent of his healthy years , he was one of the top three players in the sport.”

While others have had successful stretches in their careers, being in the top 3 for nine straight years is almost impossible. Few players have ever accomplished this feat, let alone won three MVPs in the process.

Because of Johnson’s dominance in his prime, Wright believes only a select few players should be considered before Magic.

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Nick Wright believes only three players should be considered more significant than Magic Johnson

According to Nick Wright, LA Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the few players at Magic's level.
According to Nick Wright, LA Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the few players at Magic’s level.

Given Magic Johnson’s success at his peak, analyst Nick Wright believes few players can stand above him, saying:

“Putting anyone other than Kareem, Michael, and LeBron (James) before Magic is so willfully disrespectful and insane. If Magic hadn’t been diagnosed with HIV, I think he would have ended his career with a legitimate GOAT case.”

On his best days, Earvin Johnson proved why he deserved the Magic moniker.

While it can be difficult to separate all-time greats, Johnson has done much to prove his greatness in his short career.


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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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