Why Stephen Curry Won’t Surpass Magic Johnson after the NBA Finals

For the sixth time in eight years, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has led his squad to the NBA Finals.

The three-time NBA champion has had a hall-of-fame resumé for over five years. Winning back-to-back MVPs and shattering his own three-point records, there is no doubt that Curry is an all-time great.

After knocking down his 2,974th career triple at Madison Square Garden in December, he became the all-time leader in made threes. This would officially earn him the title of “greatest shooter of all time”. It is no longer debatable.

Throughout his 13-year career, he has surpassed many hall of fame point guards like John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Steve Nash and future hall-of-famer Chris Paul. You can argue that he is better than Jerry West and Oscar Robertson, but that’s definitely up for debate. However, he is not better than Magic Johnson and won’t be better than him even if he wins these NBA Finals.

While Curry is a better shooter than Magic, he isn’t better than him at anything else.

People have debated for months over Curry’s revolutionary playstyle. The world consensus seems to be that he changed the game for the worse because players only shoot threes now.

Kids on the playground at recess rarely shoot from the midrange area anymore. To them, basketball has turned into a three-point contest.

Does this tarnish Curry’s legacy? Absolutely not. But it’s something to think about.

Since it’s currently the NBA Finals, that’ll be the angle of this article.

Magic is a five-time champion and a three-time finals MVP.

Whenever people debate over who’s the GOAT between Jordan and LeBron, the first thing ALWAYS brought up is rings followed by Finals MVPs. All-time greats should almost always win the Finals MVP award, but Magic is a special case.

Quarterbacks in football are often referred to as point guards because they direct the offense. The only three players that most NBA fans think of after reading that sentence are LeBron James, Chris Paul and Magic Johnson. Magic’s IQ of the game is right up there with Bron and CP3 as well.

The Finals MVP award is almost always given to the highest scorer (on the winning team). Of his three Finals MVP awards, Magic was the leading scorer during one of them (1987). That’s what makes Magic Magic.

By combining his all-time great IQ and perfecting his point guard responsibilities, Magic is the greatest passer of all time. John Stockton may have had more assists than him, but Magic’s ability to get his “showtime” Lakers the ball and make them better was second to none. Curry is also an excellent passer, but nowhere near Magic’s level.

The biggest issue with this debate is the difference in height. During his career, Magic was six-foot, nine inches. Curry is six-foot, three inches. With his size, Magic is one of the only players in NBA history that can play all five positions. And that he did.

Magic Johnson’s most legendary performance was Game Six of the 1980 NBA Finals. The rookie point guard started the game at center due to an injury by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the game before. He played all five positions throughout the game.

Magic finished the game with 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. A few minutes later the Finals MVP was awarded to him.

While Steph Curry doesn’t have the height to play center in the NBA Finals, a legend of his status should make up for it in other ways.

Defensively, Curry has always been average for his position. Basketball is simply a two-way street, though.

In each of Curry’s NBA Finals games, he’s mainly guarded Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry and Fred Van Fleet. Each of these players was one of the highest scorers on their respective teams.

Magic also allowed a lot of points during the NBA Finals, but he mainly guarded Julius Erving, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.

Curry has won zero Finals MVP awards. He scored a lot of points and had tons of assists, but defensively it wasn’t enough.

So far, Curry is on top of the Finals MVP ladder and will likely win it, only if he takes home the Larry O’Brien Trophy as well. However, he would still be one championship and two finals MVPs away from tying Magic.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Steph Curry and I think he is one of the greatest NBA players to ever touch a basketball. Definitely top 15. He is one of the most influential athletes ever and has changed the game. His shooting is second to none and he will be known as the “greatest shooter of all-time” for decades. However, Magic Johnson is better than him in every other way.

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