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Jason Whitlock is Wack

Jason Whitlock called Kobe Bryant the NBA’s Welfare King in his August 11th article. He stated his goal is to protect Magic Johnson’s legacy as the greatest Laker ever – seemingly through diminishing Kobe’s accomplishments.

I’ll give him one point – Magic deserves that spot as #1. Now the rest of his article is garbage, here’s why:

The main thrust of Whitlock’s article is that because Kobe has played with All-Star 7-footers he’s not as deserving as other players would be. His underlying message is “Great players could do it on their own, and didn’t need hall-of-famers to back them up”.

Whitlock’s logic is wack at best.

Understand this: I’m a crazy-ass Magic Johnson fan. I grew up with a lifesize poster of him in my room (one of those “Measure up to Magic” ones). I literally cried when the Pistons (or Celtics) beat them in the Finals. I remember running out to the backyard hoop in between quarters and trying to save the Lakers, calling out the play-by-play, scoring at will on Rodman.

So I took the time go back and highlight some of the players on Magic’s championship teams. One thing is consistent – every year that Magic won a Championship he played with an All-Star, Hall of Fame center. Every. Year.

On the flipside, once Kareem left Magic didn’t win another championship. They both needed each other.


79-80: Magic, Kareem, Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon, Cooper
81-82: Magic, Kareem, Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon, Bob McAdoo, Cooper, Rambis, Kupchak
84-85: Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Byron Scott, Rambis, Bob McAdoo, Cooper, Jamaal Wilkes
86-87: Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Scott, Cooper, Rambis, AC Green, Mychal Thompson
87-88: Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Scott, Cooper, Rambis, AC Green, Mychal Thompson

OMG! Does this mean that Magic was living off of Kareem’s gub’ment cheese?

When Kareem wasn’t there Magic didn’t win. What does it mean? What does it all mean???

What it means is this: nobody wins a championship on their own. Jordan couldn’t do it, Lebron couldn’t do it, Wade couldn’t do it. Because the Lakers front office puts together incredible squads is a testament to their place in basketball history – not an indication of the weakness of Kobe Bryant. I completely agree that the trades made to get Kobe, Pau, and Dwight were unbelievably in favor of the Lakers. For those I tip my hat to Jerry West, Mitch Kupchak, and Dr. Jerry Buss.

So Jason Whitlock, put down that Big Gulp sized cup of Hate-O-Rade and play by your own rules. It’s fine if you can’t stand Kobe – I’m sure you and Bill Simmons can cuddle up at night with a flashlight and blanket over your heads, whispering snotty stories about the Black Mamba. But at least put together a cohesive argument and stick to your own logic.


  1. Prather says:

    Turbo- while I agree with you, it takes team, the difference is Magic was about team, all about it and never wavered. We have watched the Kobe show for a long time now and watched as he wasted a few championship opportunities ( that by the way would have sealed him as the greatest ever if he would have had a little Magic mentality) with stellar athletes at his side that were entirely winnable. The difference between the greatest Laker of all time an Kobe is not the number of rings, Kobe will end up with more thanks to Mitch, It is about the commitment to the Laker team and not about the self. While Kobe says he’s not a “stats guy” he is all about taking over in the 4th quarter, leaving the game behind and imagining himself as a 12 year old kid playing one on nobody against the garage hoop and lobbing up a ridiculous shot drifting out of bounds that may or may not go in.

    Kobe’s downfall as ever achieving the the title of greatest laker ever ended when he wasted and walk in the park season with the likes of Shaq, Karl Malone and Gary Peyton all on one squad in the playoffs against a weak Detroit team. The reason you lost you ask. One word, Team.

    Magic is, was and will always be, the Greatest Laker of All Time…

    1. Andy Starr says:

      I agree, Magic is still the #1 Laker of all time. However, despite any other shortcomings Kobe may have, Whitlock’s point is that Kobe is an NBA welfare recipient simply because the Laker front office put great centers on his team.

      By that logic, so is Magic…or any other NBA superstar who won a championship and had another All-Star on his team. Hard to argue that Jordan wasn’t all about Jordan when it came to the 4th quarter (or any time really). I’m not saying he didn’t deserve to be “the man” at the end of the game, but you knew he was going to take over. There was very little team play involved, but that’s what you expect the great ones to do. Lebron was slammed with ridicule when the Heat lost to Dallas in the Finals because he didn’t take over at the end.

      We WANT our superstars to take over. The big BUT is this: only if they’re producing. Kobe’s problem is recognizing the nights he just doesn’t have it in him, but still trying to power through. It’s those times he needs to shift and become a facilitator instead of taking ill-advised fall away 25 foot jumpers.

      And Magic is the #2 greatest basketball player of all time (#1 Laker).

  2. Prather says:

    Sealed him as greatest ever in basketball history BTW.

  3. Reddog says:

    Very astute analysis of Jason’s weak logic regarding Kobe contribution. I’d love to see him react to your analysis. If all else fails, he could always claim writer’s exhaustion… I mean column after column — day after day — whew! I mean, who knew? Of course, he could always play his Obama card: “Hey, I didn’t write this column on my own! It’s everybody’s fault!”