Hall of Fame Lakers legend calls Nikola Jokic a mix of Magic and Kareem

November 16, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA;    NBA players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and "Magic" Johnson
November 16, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; NBA players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and "Magic" Johnson / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It’s kind of sad that there are still some Nikola Jokic detractors out there, but it seems that some remain unwilling to give the man his flowers. We’ve seen it with media types like Nick Wright, celebrities like Kevin Hart and Cedric the Entertainer, and of course former players like Shaq, Gilbert Arenas, and Jason Williams.

The criticisms levied against the Joker are weak and unfair, so it’s nice to hear a well-respected former player speak out as glowingly as James Worthy did on a recent Lakers broadcast. The words of Worthy should hold significant weight as he’s been a great broadcaster for years.

But it’s especially noteworthy (pun intended!) because Worthy was a seven-time All-Star, a three-time NBA champion, a Finals MVP, and a basketball Hall of Famer. Worthy also played alongside some of the game’s all-time greats including legends Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

That’s what makes it such an impressive compliment and such markedly high praise for Worthy to say of Nikola Jokic, “To me, he’s Magic and Kareem on the floor at the same time. He’s a guard, he makes great decisions, hell of a passer. And then when he wants to be Kareem, he goes down and dominates.”

It’s pretty remarkable stuff to hear from one of the game’s 75 greatest players of all time, somebody who played with multiple top 10 all-time teammates, and especially a guy who spent his entire career playing for and covering the LA Lakers.

For him to put Jokic in that type of company and category speaks volumes about the respect that he has for the Joker. This should be a commonly accepted truth, and one day it will be, but sadly there are still those who rush to discredit Nikola and everything he does as a basketball player.

Winning this series and triumphing yet again over LeBron James and the mighty Lakers should certainly help Jokic gain some respect. And another run to the Finals culminating with a second straight NBA Finals MVP Award would put Jokic in rarified air. At a certain point, even the staunchest haters are going to have to give it up and respect greatness. Kudos to James Worthy for leading that charge.