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Magic Johnson Compares LSU Freshman Ben Simmons to LeBron James

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 16:  Ben Simmons #25 of the LSU Tigers dunks during a game against the Kennesaw State Owls at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on November 16, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Kyle NewportFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2017

With many predicting that LSU freshman Ben Simmons will be a star in the NBA, Earvin "Magic" Johnson is probably hoping to see the Tigers star wearing purple and gold at the next level.

That's because the Los Angeles Lakers legend thinks Simmons is a special player.

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James had to deal with national attention throughout his high school career, with many calling him the "next Michael Jordan" or "The Chosen One." Now, Simmons has received a similar comparison.

In his first year of college ball, Simmons has averaged 20.5 points, 13.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists. The 6'10", 240-pound forward has been impressive and is putting himself in position to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, should he enter.

Comparing a young player to an all-time great can be a dangerous thing. No matter how much talent a player has, he still has to prove himself when he gets to the NBA. And of course, not all "sure things" have panned out in the pros.

James handled the Jordan comparisons well and has lived up to the hype. But expectations will only grow for Simmons, especially as the NBA draft draws closer.

There's no denying Simmons looks like the real deal—but only time will tell if he can be the next generation's LeBron James. 

[Earvin Magic Johnson]

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