Best Point Guards in NBA History: Number 1
Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers (1979 – 1991, ’96)
Earvin “Magic” Johnson will forever be remembered as the orchestrator behind the Showtime Lakers and the best fast break in the history of the game. He is widely considered the inventor of the “no look” pass, and his 11.2 assists per game is still the highest career per game average in NBA history.
Due to his collegiate rivalry with Larry Bird, and his selection by one of the NBA’s premier franchises, the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson entered the league with a lot of fanfare. He did not disappoint. As a rookie, with superstar center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sidelined with an injury, Johnson scored 42 points against Doctor J and the Philadelphia 76ers to clinch the team’s first championship since 1972.
Eventually, Magic and the Lakers would meet their rivals, Bird and the Celtics, in the NBA Finals. After suffering a disappointing seven-game loss in 1984, the Lakers would rebound to defeat their East Coast rivals in both 1985 and 1987. Overall the team won five championships during the ’80s and, along with the Celtics, is considered the team of the decade.
Magic Johnson is the greatest point guard in NBA history, not just for the sheer number of assists he dished out during each contest, but for the fact that he did so while willingly sacrificing his scoring for the betterment of the team. While he did have occasional scoring outburst, he was just as content making sure that players like Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Byron Scott shouldered the scoring load. It was the unselfishness to spread the offense evenly that made Magic an incredible player and the Lakers an incredible team.
At 6’9″, Johnson ushered in a new era of tall point guards who could pass over the top of defenses and also post up against smaller guards when the time was right. This versatility allowed Magic to develop a vast array of scoring moves from baby hook shots, to scoop shots, floaters and jump shots. Johnson could score in a multitude of ways, but never neglected his duties as a facilitator.
When his career was said and done, Magic had accumulated five championships, three league MVP awards, three Finals MVP awards and a gold medal as a member of the 1992 Olympic Team. He is a legend of the sport, and the best player to ever play the point guard position.