Rookies Trae Young and Luka Doncic will be linked together throughout their careers thanks to a 2018 draft-day trade that brought the former to the Atlanta Hawks and the latter to the Dallas Mavericks.
At least one of them thinks that connection can be like a famous pairing in NBA history.
"Like Magic and Bird...it can be something like that where we both can be great," Young said when asked about comparisons between the two rookies while appearing on The Ringer's Winging It podcast with Vince Carter and Kent Bazemore.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were connected to each other before they even stepped foot on an NBA court, as Johnson's Michigan State Spartans defeated Bird's Indiana State Sycamores in the 1979 NCAA championship game.
They battled each other in multiple NBA Finals throughout the 1980s as marquee superstars on two of the NBA's most prominent franchises. The showdowns between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics vaulted the league into the spotlight, and the two future Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers helped pave the way for future individual talents such as Michael Jordan in the years to come.
Young and Doncic are both talented playmakers with bright futures, but any comparison to Johnson and Bird is sure to turn heads. Still, Young's overarching point that one's success doesn't automatically mean the other's failure rings true, as both appear well on their way to successful careers.
Doncic is averaging 21.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game and needed little time to adjust to the NBA's level of competition after playing professionally in Europe. Young is posting 18.3 points, 7.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds a night and has caught fire of late.
The Oklahoma product has scored 30 or more points in four of his last six games and poured in 49 points with 16 assists in a quadruple-overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday.
While they both have a ways to go to catch the level of Johnson and Bird, Young is right. They can both be great.