CLEVELAND >> Hall of Famer Magic Johnson strongly disagreed with Klay and Mychal Thompson’s statements that the Warriors are better than the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers were.
“I am never going to give in to nobody,” Johnson, who won five NBA championships, said today on ESPN’s First Take. “I don’t care who it is. I don’t care what Mychal said. My Showtime Lakers would beat the Warriors, and I don’t care what you say or nobody else.
“We’re going to win that series. I don’t care what the rules are. No hand-checking, some hand-checking, it don’t matter.”
Klay when he made the comment after Game 2 of the NBA Finals was playfully jabbing at his father, Mychal, who won two championships playing for the Lakers. Mychal agreed with Klay and clarified on the ESPN LA radio show he co-hosts, “If we played them, I think we’d win too. I’m not saying we’re going to lose the series or lose every series. But I think they could beat us in a series. Of course.”
The statements from the Thompsons touched off an emotional debate with former Lakers.
Byron Scott, the former Lakers coach who won three championships as a player, spoke to Mychal during his radio show.
“If we could just go back in time and we could really seriously play them in a series and we’re at our peak and they’re at their peak, it’s not a match,” Scott said.
“If we’re playing the rules in the ’80s, then I think it’s really a no contest. If we’re playing the rules today, then obviously they’ve got a better chance. I still think we win the series.”
Mychal said he was being objective, but Scott disagreed.
“I love you MT, but I know you’re trying to take up for Klay, and I understand that, and I commend you for doing that,” Scott said.
“I’m biased maybe, but I agree with Magic on who would definitely win the series.”
Johnson praised the Warriors for their achievements and said he respected them, but left no doubt on his thoughts about where the Showtime Lakers stood in his mind.
“The Warriors would have bad matchups against us,” Johnson said. “There’s no way that they’re going to deal with Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), and there’s no way they can deal with James Worthy. And the thing that we could do that will affect them and cause them problems is that we could set up and we could run on the fast break. We averaged 118 points with hand-checking, with all of that.
“We’ve never seen two guys that can shoot like Steph (Curry) and Klay, and I give them that. But they never ran up against somebody like us. And I’m telling you, whoever’s going to be guarding me, I’m going to be wearing them down. I’m going to be wearing them out. … We got problems with them, but they’ve got bigger problems with us.”
Mychal said he didn’t suffer from what he called Stubborn Old Man Syndrome, but wasn’t surprised his former teammates disagreed with him.”
“I mean, that’s what Magic is supposed to think,” Mychal said. “If he would have thought otherwise, if he would have agreed with me, I would have been shocked.
“Kareem would say the same thing as Magic, James Worthy … of course he’d call me an idiot too.”