Michael Jordan: What If Jordan, Larry Bird & Magic Had Played Together

Mike B.Correspondent IAugust 8, 2010

Many have criticized LeBron James for his decision last month to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with the Miami Heat.   

They feel that he took the easy way out by joining forces with fellow stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami rather than continuing to pursue his first NBA championship as "The Man" in Cleveland.

A few weeks ago, Michael Jordan sort of took a shot at James saying that back in his playing days, he wouldn't have called up Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to see if they wanted to play for the same team. 

"In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys," Jordan said.

That's easy for Jordan to say since he didn't have the same opportunity that James had.

But what if Jordan did have the opportunity?

What if NBA free agency in the 1980s was similar to how it is today? Let's say Jordan, Magic, and Bird all became free agents in the summer of 1987 just like James, Wade, and Bosh this summer. 

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Jordan grows tired of playing for the Chicago Bulls, a team he feels has no chance of winning a title anytime soon. And let's say that both Magic's Los Angeles Lakers and Bird's Boston Celtics aren't so great either. 

Imagine Jordan getting together with Magic and Bird to hold a free agent "summit", something he, of course, said he wouldn't have done.

Later, then-Lakers' general manager Jerry West clears up a ton of cap space and pulls off the impossible by re-signing Magic and reeling in Jordan and Bird as well.

Just think what could have happened if those three legendary NBA stars had played for the same team. Sure, they were teammates on the Dream Team which brought home an Olympic gold medal in 1992, but that was different.

Speaking of different, that's exactly what the NBA would've been. The Jordan-Magic-Bird Lakers would have likely become a powerhouse, setting all kinds of unbreakable records.

They just might have went 82-0 a couple of times.

Since this is a hypothetical article, let's also pretend that Magic doesn't get H.I.V. and retire in '91, and Bird doesn't get bothered by chronic back problems which forced him to call it quits in '92.  

The "Big Three" of Jordan, Magic, and Bird likely would have won several championships, maybe five or six in a row. 

Who was going to stop them?

Nobody, but then again, you never know if another Hall of Fame trio would have been assembled somewhere down the road. We just might have seen a Charles Barkley-Patrick Ewing-Clyde Drexler trio come together.

Okay, enough with all the hypothetical talk. It's just interesting to wonder "what if".

Jordan was a Bull, Magic was a Laker, and Bird was a Celtic.  

That's just how it was.

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