Magic Johnson Acknowledges Jackie Robinson Before Major League Baseball Tribute

Magic Johnson Cosigns Comparisons That Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark Are Rivals Like He and Larry Bird Were In The 1980s

Last week, sports journalist Jemele Hill compared the Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark rivalry to former NBA players, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird who started a similar rivalry in college and then elevated when both men went into the NBA in the 1980s. On a recent sitdown with talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, former Los Angeles Lakers legend, Magic agreed with Hill’s assessment.

On June 6, Magic appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and discussed the recent comparison between the two young WNBA rookies. He did agree that the Reese/Clark rivalry matches the one he had with Bird when they both came into the league, although Bird was drafted in 1978 by the Boston Celtics and Magic, in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers (as the number one overall pick). Bird went back to school and his team, Indiana State was undefeated that season, but, Magic’s Michigan State team handed them a defeat taking the national championship. Magic (5X NBA champion) and Bird (3X NBA champion) helped their respective teams win NBA championships.

Magic noted that there will be jealousy from veterans, especially if the rookies come in on a lot of fanfare, which he and Bird experienced.

“Veterans are going to test you,” he told Kimmel. “If they feel that you’ve gotten more money or more publicity, they’re upset about that.”

He also repeated what former NBA player, Matt Barnes recently stated that Clark’s teammates can’t allow her to get beat up by opposing players during the game.

‘Now, Caitlin, her teammates gotta come to her defense,” Magic explained. “You can’t allow her to have to fight every battle. But we have to understand that both Caitlin, Angel, and [Cameron] Brink who plays for my Sparks, they make the WNBA better and they’re going to be tested by these incredible women who’ve been in the league for a long time. Caitlin is the most popular WNBA player but she’s not the best at this time, just like Larry and I were not the best when we entered the league. We became the best later on by our play. Caitlin still has to play great to become the best WNBA player.”

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