The great thing about being as old as Magic Johnson (58 in August) is that you never have to prove anything. You can make wild claims like the Earth is flat (copyright: Kyrie Irving) or Bigfoot is real or the showtime Lakers would have swept today’s Golden State Warriors, and no one can prove you wrong.
But no one can prove you right, which makes the entire exercise a waste of everyone’s time.
Magic made that claim on Monday — that the late-80s Lakers would sweep the ’16-’17 Warriors in a playoff series. Draymond Green, hearing that today in Cleveland, had this perfect response:
Draymond Green responds to Magic Johnson saying his Showtime Lakers would sweep these Warriors pic.twitter.com/8NIH47nkZy
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 6, 2017
Magic Johnson says the "Showtime" Lakers would have swept today's Golden State Warriors. pic.twitter.com/D9wm2T35ZA
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 6, 2017
But back when Magic played and Pat Riley coached, they still had guys on ladders to take the ball out of the peach basket every time someone scored. So you can’t compare eras in professional basketball.
Draymond on why he doesn’t get involved in conversations about players from past eras comparing themselves the Warriors. pic.twitter.com/SOaNrX4Qmw
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) June 6, 2017
But we can compare a team to its reputation, and in this case the showtime Lakers are possibly not quite as good as we remember them.
The 1987-88 team, for instance — with Kareem and Magic and James Worthy — didn’t sweep anyone after the first round of the playoffs. They played three consecutive seventh games, winning 4-3 series vs. the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons.
As for beating the current Warriors, only Jesus knows (and He’s been banned from all casinos and sports books). The common opponents are obviously different. Training methods, strategy, facilities, heck, even the rules — all different. If it’s true that one generation builds from the previous one, then one would hope that current teams would beat past teams every time, if some time warp allowed them to play in their prime.
But the only people actually making victory claims in that regard are die-hard Back to the Future fans, and people who are just looking for attention, like Magic Johnson.