LeBron James and Magic Johnson are two of the most famous athletes in NBA history, but how do they compare career wise? 5 championships is more than 4, but King James has more MVP and Finals awards.

The “nba finals mvp list” is a list of the MVPs in NBA Finals. LeBron James has 5 championships, more than Magic Johnson’s 4, but King James has more MVP and Finals Awards.

LeBron James vs. Magic Johnson Career Comparison: 5 Championships Are More Than 4, But King James Has More MVP And Finals Awards

LeBron-James-vs-Magic-Johnson-Career-Comparison-5-Championships-Are

Magic Johnson is the greatest point guard of all time because as a 6’9″ point guard, he broke new ground. Not only did the famous Lakers player have the ability to see over his opponents and make deft passes, but he also had innate leadership qualities that helped everyone around him improve. Magic’s greatest quality was his ability to lead, and he won five NBA titles as a consequence.

Meanwhile, LeBron James is often compared to Magic Johnson because of his ability to set up his teammates for excellent shots and control the game’s tempo. When it comes to scoring, passing, and rebounding, James is without a doubt the finest all-around player of all time, and he has eclipsed Larry Bird as the best small forward of all time.

As 6’9″ players with outstanding playmaking abilities, Magic and LeBron have comparable playing styles, but how do their careers compare? Johnson spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming perhaps the franchise’s best player. LeBron James played for three different clubs, winning four Championships in the NBA and cementing his status as the best player of all time in terms of longevity. The following is a comparison of Magic Johnson’s and LeBron James’ careers.


Championships in the NBA

4 LeBron James (2012, 2013, 2016, 2020)

4-6 in the finals

5 points for Magic Johnson (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)

5-4 in the finals

With ten Finals appearances, LeBron James ranks third in NBA history after Sam Jones (11) and Bill Russell (12). LeBron James had to wait a long time to earn his first championship, as it came in his ninth season. The King did reach his first Finals in 2007, but despite averaging 22.0 points per game and shooting 35.6 percent from the floor, he was swept by the San Antonio Spurs. James was plainly not ready to win, and his next Finals participation would come in his first year with the Miami Heat.

The King was defeated in the Finals once again in 2011, but this time he was the favorite in the series against the Dallas Mavericks. Despite being the most skilled player on the field, James only averaged 17.8 points per game throughout the series, being outscored by Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, and Jason Terry. With a 0-2 record in the Finals the previous year, James would make amends the following year.

With LeBron embracing the villain role, he would carry the Miami Heat to three straight Finals appearances in 2012, 2013, and 2014 and would win two MVPs of the Finals. In 2012, James averaged 28.6 points per game, 10.2 rebounds per game, and 7.4 assists per game while beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. The next season, James averaged 25.3 points per game, 10.9 rebounds per game, and 7.0 assists per game while sweeping the San Antonio Spurs in seven games. LeBron’s Game 7 performance was legendary, as he scored 37 points, including a slew of clutch shots, to put the Spurs away. In his third straight Finals appearance, James and the Heat fell to the Spurs even if The King put up 28.2 PPG and 7.8 RPG on 57.1% from the field.

When James returned to Cleveland, he would go on to participate in four more NBA Finals. In 2015, James was unable to defeat the Golden State Warriors super squad after losing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in the Finals. In a magnificent series that would not earn him a third ring until 2016, the King averaged 25.8 points per game, 13.3 rebounds per game, and 8.8 assists per game. Fortunately for James, his All-Star colleagues returned healthy the next season, and The King won his third title and third Finals MVP by averaging 29.7 points per game, 11.3 rebounds per game, 8.9 assists per game, 2.6 steals per game, and 2.3 blocks per game. In a thrilling Game 7, James had memorable moments like “The Block” to help the team pull off a 3-1 comeback.

The Golden State Warriors, on the other hand, would exact vengeance, defeating James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in two consecutive Finals in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, James has ample potential, but the Warriors were just dominating as a result of the arrival of Kevin Durant. In 2018, the King had little support and was defeated in four games. In 2020, during a covid-shortened season, LeBron would quit his club and join the Los Angeles Lakers.

During the 2020 season, James led the NBA in APG, forging a dynamic duo with Anthony Davis, and won the NBA title in six games against an injury-plagued Miami Heat club. By averaging 29.8 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game, and 8.5 assists per game, the King would win his fourth Finals MVP award. James’ Finals career is tough to assess since it includes both bad times and great peaks.

Magic Johnson’s Finals journey was a little more uncomplicated. In 9 Finals appearances, the point guard won a total of 5 NBA championships for a 5-4 Finals record. Magic’s most memorable Finals run came in his rookie season, when he won Finals MVP and even started at center to help the Lakers defeat the Philadelphia 76ers. Magic’s Hall of Fame career got off to a spectacular start when he won Rookie of the Year, an NBA championship, and Finals MVP in his first season.

Johnson’s next participation in the Finals was in 1982, when the Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers for the second time. While leading Los Angeles to their second victory in three years and winning his second Finals MVP award, Magic averaged 16.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. Unfortunately for Johnson and the Lakers, the 76ers avenged themselves in 1983, sweeping the Lakers 4-0 to win the title. Johnson put up excellent numbers of 19.0 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, 12.5 assists per game, and 1.8 steals per game, but he couldn’t stop Moses Malone’s dominating series (25.8 PPG and 18.0 RPG).

In 1984, Magic Johnson led the Lakers back to the Finals, but they were defeated by Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics in a thrilling seven-game series. Magic and Bird were the essence of a superstar showdown, and their skill enthralled spectators and contributed to revolutionize the NBA game forever. Magic Johnson put up huge statistics with the Lakers, averaging 18.0 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game, and 13.6 assists per game, but he was outplayed by Larry Bird (27.4 PPG, 14.0 RPG, and 3.6 APG).

In 1985, Magic Johnson will lead the Lakers to the Finals for the second time, this time defeating the Boston Celtics. The legendary point guard put up 18.3 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, and 14.0 assists per game, but he was overshadowed by a dominating Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who dropped 25.7 points per game and 9.0 rebounds per game to earn his Finals MVP. However, there was no doubting who the finest playmaker in the game was at the moment, and Johnson was already the greatest point guard of all time at this point.

Magic and the Lakers would make their sixth Finals appearance two years later, and the point guard would win his third Finals MVP title by averaging 26.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 13.0 assists per game while defeating the Boston Celtics in six games. To be honest, Magic didn’t have a response. The Lakers would return to the Finals in 1988, but this time James Worthy would seize command of the series and earn the Finals MVP award.

Magic’s last title season would be 1988, as he would lose his remaining two outings in 1989 and 1991. The “Bad Boy” Pistons defeated the Lakers in four games in the 1989 Finals, and Michael Jordan began his reign in the league with the Lakers losing in games in the 1991 Finals.

Overall, Magic won more championships and had a better Finals record than LeBron, who has a losing record and fewer championships.

Magic Johnson has the upper hand.


MVPs of the Finals

4 LeBron James (2012, 2013, 2016, 2020)

3 Magic Johnson (1980, 1982, 1987)

LeBron James might have a losing record in the NBA Finals, but his performances across them on an individual level are very impressive, to say the least. The King has averages of 28.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 7.8 APG, 1.7 SPG, and 0.8 BPG while shooting 48.4% from the field, 35.2% from three, and 73.1% from the free-throw line. James had 10 Finals appearances with 3 different teams, going 4-6 and capturing 4 MVPs of the Finals. Even in his losses, there was no denying who the most talented player in the series was and his numbers are a testament to that.

Magic Johnson won 3 MVPs of the Finals, sharing 2 Finals MVP honors with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy in the other championship victories. Magic averaged 19.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 11.7 APG, 2.0 SPG, and 0.3 BPG while shooting 51.6% from the field, 23.7% from three, and 87.4% from the free-throw line. The legendary point guard went 5-4 in the Finals and was always the best playmaker in the series he played in. But James has the edge in Finals stats and Finals MVP awards.

LeBron James has the upper hand.


MVP Awards in the NBA

LeBron James has won four MVP awards (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)

Magic Johnson has won three MVP awards (1987, 1989, 1990)

LeBron James has won four MVP awards with two different teams, with two of them occurring in back-to-back seasons. In 2009 and 2010, James earned MVP honors with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then again in 2012 and 2013 with the Miami Heat. This period of time may have been the finest of LeBron’s career since he was at the pinnacle of his physicality, and no one could match an experienced King at his peak physicality.

In 1987, 1989, and 1990, Magic Johnson earned the MVP three times. Magic earning three MVPs as a point guard is exceedingly uncommon, considering only a few point guards have ever won MVPs. Only two point guards have won more than one MVP: Stephen Curry and Steve Nash, and Magic Johnson is the best at his position. Nonetheless, Magic did not earn as many MVP titles as James, thus The King gets the nod in this category.

LeBron James has the upper hand.


NBA All-Star Teams

17 All-NBA Appearances for LeBron James (13 First Team, 3 Second Team, 1 Third Team)

10 All-NBA Appearances for Magic Johnson (9 First Team, 1 Second Team)

The King has made an incredible 17 NBA All-Star Teams, with 13 of them coming in the All-NBA First Team and 3 of them coming in the All-NBA Second Team. James’ incredible All-NBA appearances come as a result of his longevity and also his talent as the best player in the world for over a decade. LeBron’s biggest challengers have been Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo at the forward spot over his career, and neither comes close to The King in terms of consistently being the best player in the league.

Magic Johnson made 10 NBA All-Star Teams in 13 seasons, with 9 of them coming in All-NBA First Team. The legendary point guard was the undisputed king of his position during his era, and there was no comparison as to being a winner at his position. Magic failed to make the All-NBA in his rookie season, although the point guard won Finals MVP that year. Overall, LeBron has the edge in NBA All-Star Teams because he has played and dominated the league longer.

LeBron James has the upper hand.


Selection of All-Stars

LeBron James has been in 18 All-Star Games and won three All-Star Game MVP awards.

Magic Johnson has been in 12 All-Star Games and won two All-Star Game MVP awards.

LeBron’s longevity is unquestionable, since no other outstanding player has lasted as long as The King. In his illustrious career, the King has made 18 All-Star Teams and won the All-Star Game MVP three times. Only once has James failed to make the All-Star Team, and it was during his first season. James has been an All-Star since his second NBA season and will almost certainly make another two or three All-Star Teams before his career is over.

Magic Johnson was a member of 12 All-Star Teams during the course of his 13-year career, missing out on the All-Star Team in his last season due to only appearing in 32 games. Interestingly, Magic declared his retirement in 1992 after testing positive for HIV, yet he was nonetheless voted into the All-Star Game and won All-Star Game MVP with a 25-point performance. Johnson also won two All-Star Game MVP titles throughout his career. Again, LeBron James played significantly longer than Magic Johnson and was named to many more All-Star Teams, as well as earning one more All-Star Game MVP.

LeBron James has the upper hand.


Titles, Assists, And Scoring

LeBron James has won one scoring title and one assist title (2020)

Magic Johnson has a total of 0 scoring titles and 4 assist titles (1983, 1984, 1986, 1987)

In 2008, LeBron James won his sole scoring championship, averaging 30.0 points per game while shooting 48.4% from the field, 31.5 percent from three, and 71.2 percent from the free-throw line. Kobe Bryant (28.3 PPG) and Allen Iverson (28.3 PPG) tied for second place in scoring (26.4 PPG). Even though James set a career best in scoring in his third season (31.4 PPG), he didn’t win the scoring championship until 2008. In his first season as the Lakers’ full-time starting point guard, the King also won the assist championship in 2020, with 10.2 assists per game.

Magic never won a scoring championship, but he was the best facilitator of his age, winning four assist crowns. In his fourth and fifth seasons with the Lakers, the famous point guard led the league in assists, averaging 10.5 and 13.1 assists per game. In his seventh and eighth seasons, Magic would also lead the league in assists, averaging 12.6 and 12.2 per game, respectively. Magic’s assist-leading seasons resulted in one of the most thrilling offenses in NBA history, making him the finest floor general ever.

Magic Johnson has the upper hand.


LeBron James defeats Magic Johnson 4-2 in the final.

LeBron James has won more accolades than Magic Johnson, although most of them are a testament to his incredible longevity. The King played longer and remained healthier than Magic, making more All-Star and NBA All-Star Teams and also dictating what happens with his career. James made no apologies for joining different teams, putting himself in the best positions to succeed and win NBA titles with the Cavaliers, Heat, and Lakers. When it comes to individual accolades, James has won more than Magic and that is mainly shown by the number of MVP awards and Finals MVP awards.

But it’s also fair if Magic wins the case for having a greater team career since he built a Lakers club that won five NBA championships in nine years. The Lakers built an all-time great “Showtime” team with Johnson at the helm, losing just four times in the Finals. In the Finals, James lost six times, giving Magic a more outstanding Finals record. Overall, it seems that Magic has more victories at the top level than LeBron James, but he lacks The King’s individual awards and lifetime accomplishments.

Next

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many awards has LeBron James won in total?

A: LeBron James has won a total of 18 NBA MVP awards, six NBA Finals MVP Awards, two Olympic gold medals and four FIBA World Championships.

Who can you compare LeBron to?

A: You can compare LeBron to Michael Jordan. They have the same skills with their jump shot, height and strength.

How many championships MVP does Magic have?

A: Magic Johnson has won 2 NBA Championships, 1 with the Lakers and one with the Celtics.

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