Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Updated: October 19, 4:32 PM ET
Magic Johnson pokes fun at LeBron
ESPN.com news services
If Magic Johnson ever wants to add stand-up comedian or celebrity roast master of ceremonies to his portfolio, he's got some material for his act -- at least, until LeBron James finally wins that elusive first NBA title.
In an on-campus speaking appearance Saturday at the University at Albany, Johnson, an NBA analyst for ESPN, poked some fun at King James' fourth-quarter playoff troubles during the NBA Finals, according to multiple media reports.
It all started when Johnson, a successful businessman in addition to a Hall of Fame basketball player, television personality and HIV activist, was asked which of his accomplishments he would prefer as his lasting legacy.
"That's easy: Putting people to work in minority communities," Johnson said. "There's going to always be great players in basketball. There's going to always be guys who win championships in the NBA, except LeBron ..."
That drew a loud mix of applause, laughter and shouts from the audience, to which Johnson replied "Don't be mad!"
And at that moment, Magic couldn't resist some fun at LeBron's expense. He did point out that he was kidding -- but the zingers kept coming, one after another.
"Everybody's always asking, 'Who is better between Kobe (Bryant) and LeBron?' I'm like, Are you kidding me? I'm like, you're kidding me ... Kobe, five championships; LeBron, zero."
"I love the young man, though. I know he's going to get better in the fourth quarter this year."
"I'm not hating on LeBron," he added. "He's a triple-double threat every single game and he's going to get better."
But one thing Magic seemed serious about was dismissing any comparisons between James and fellow Hall-of-Famer Michael Jordan.
"Come on, man, six championships for Jordan. You know that Michael averaged over 30 points every playoff series? Don't try to touch that," he said.
Johnson's quips came three months after he became an investor in Detroit Venture Partners, which is run by Dan Gilbert -- the owner of James' former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
On Wednesday morning, Johnson took to Twitter with additional remarks.
"I also said that I think @KingJames will be better & they learned their lesson from Dallas. I picked the @MiamiHeat to win the championship," Johnson tweeted.
And then: "We were all just having fun @ualbany & all I was saying was if @KingJames played like he did in the Finals, he wouldn't win a championship"