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LAKERS / 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Magic, Kobe stand tallest in Lakers' dream backcourt

With nine NBA championship rings (and counting) between them, the peerless passer and the consummate scorer would form an unstoppable guard duo.

November 11, 2009|Broderick Turner

Imagine a Lakers' backcourt of Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant.

Close your eyes for a few seconds and envision the Magic Man pounding the rock on the fast break, his eyes darting, options all over the place and on the wing is Bryant, out-running everyone to make sure he's in Johnson's line of sight for one of those signature passes.

Yeah, it's just a dream, but as we celebrate the Lakers' 50th anniversary of producing magical moments in Los Angeles, of producing some of the best basketball players the NBA has ever seen, the best Lakers' guard duo would have to be Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant.

Sure, one can easily substitute Jerry West, or perhaps even Gail Goodrich or Byron Scott, into the mix.

But my money is on Johnson and Bryant.

Johnson revolutionized the game of basketball.

He was a 6-foot-9 point guard. He was a winner, as his five NBA championships are a testament to that.

He shared the basketball, his 10,141 assists, the fourth-best in NBA history, is all you need to know about that. He reached the NBA Finals nine times during his 13-year career.

Johnson was selected in 1996 as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in a survey of media, players and league officials. He won the NBA's MVP award three times. He won an Olympic gold medal. And who can forget that smile?

As for Bryant, he's still writing his story.

He is considered by many as the best player in the NBA. His work ethic is legendary.

Bryant has won four NBA championships and been to the Finals six times.

He scored 81 points in a game, the second-highest single-game total in league history.

He has a career scoring average of 25.1 points entering his 14th season. He has won an MVP award, an Olympic gold medal and has been on the All-NBA team the last 11 years.

If the Lakers had Johnson at the point guard position and Bryant at the two-guard spot, it would be a scary combination for any opponent.

Both have a strong desire and will to win.

And because Johnson loves to pass the basketball, he'd have no problem giving Bryant the ball all game long.

How would you stop them?

Who would take the last shot?

Hey, as long as the ball starts in Magic's hands and Kobe is on the court, the defense will be on its heels, knowing that two of the game's best playing for the Lakers would deliver the goods.

--

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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