Kobe Bryant vs. Magic Johnson: 5 Days of Black Mamba Birthday Comparisons

Editor's note: Kobe Bryant turns 35 on Friday, August 23. To commemorate the Los Angeles Lakers legend's big day, we're seeing how his career stacks up next to five NBA luminaries, be they current Hall of Famers or legends in the making. Check out parts 1, 2 and 3 here.

In the fourth installment of our five-part series, we're pitting Bryant's career against that of another Lakers luminary, Magic Johnson. We'll be looking at how the two match up in four major categories: career accomplishments, career statistics, off-the-court influence and impact on the game.  

The Lakers have been blessed with no shortage of legendary players throughout their illustrious history. Bryant and Magic will go down as two of the greatest.

Together, the duo brought 10 of the franchise's 16 championships to Los Angeles. Magic's "Showtime" teams of the '80s gave way to the squads of Kobe and Shaquille O'Neal at the turn of the century. Each is historically memorable in its own right.

Because the two stars represent such a major share of the team's lore, it's only natural to wonder which player deserves the title of greatest Laker in franchise history.

Let's find out where each player stands in that regard.


Career Accomplishments

Before Magic's career was cut short by HIV, he was one of the NBA's brightest stars. 

His onetime rival Larry Bird prevented him from winning the 1980 Rookie of the Year Award, but Magic made the best of it. He helped guide the Lakers to the 1980 NBA Finals to face off against Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Magic's iconic teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sprained his ankle in Game 5 and had to sit out the next game. With a 3-2 series lead in jeopardy, Magic rotated between every position on the court in Game 6, finishing with 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in the champ...

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