Shawn Kemp: LeBron Better Compared to Magic Johnson, Not Jordan

Shawn Kemp: LeBron akin to Magic, not Jordan

by Nouman Rasool
Shawn Kemp: LeBron Better Compared to Magic Johnson, Not Jordan
© Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

LeBron James has established himself as one of the greatest players in the NBA over the last twenty years. That, in turn, means people have constantly been comparing him to Michael Jordan when discussing his case for being the best.

One former NBA star, Shawn Kemp, believes that's wasted breath. Kemp recently shared all his thoughts on the popular podcast "All the Smoke." According to him, LeBron and Jordan seemed to have two different styles. "I think LeBron is right up there.

I don't think he's the best, but he doesn't need to be," Kemp said. "LeBron should be compared to Magic Johnson, not Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant is more Michael Jordan; LeBron is more Magic Johnson." Showing the physical differences, Kemp said, "He's 6'8" tall and weighs about 250 pounds, but LeBron is built and physically strong.

For a man of this size, he can be as quick as the quickest guy out on the floor."

Game Evolution Debate

The game has so dramatically changed, even from his playing days in the 1990s, where it was athletes such as Kemp himself and Larry Johnson who could manhandle teams but didn't have the quickness that LeBron does today.

"With LeBron, it's hard to say if he could adapt to the era of big bodies we played in. He might have had to alter his style somewhat, similar to how he played earlier," speculated Kemp. He also shared views on Kobe Bryant, whom he had the opportunity to play against during his rise.

Because Jordan and Bryant were relatively of the same height and physically fit, Kemp could make comparisons due to those factors. "When I faced Kobe, I saw that same fire and skill Michael had. I used to challenge my teammate Ruben Patterson, the 'Kobe Stopper,' to try and guard him, but honestly, Kobe was unguardable," said Kemp.

Having played against Kobe and Jordan, I know how fierce their competitive spirits were. Kobe had that raw potential that reminded me so much of Jordan," said Kemp. According to Kemp, after the encounters he had with both legends, Bryant was more identical to Jordan than LeBron. This puts a new spin on the ever-continuous debate over who is considered the basketball GOAT.

Magic Johnson Magic