Still, Jordan has figured out how to be the idol of millions, but he hasn't figured out how to lead the 11 individuals who really matter, his teammates. The mantle of leadership weighs heavily on Jordan Perhaps it's not his fault. One thing is certain: Jordan's MVP year will come again. Put him second.
And so the winner on my ballot is Earvin Johnson. It's easy, you say, to push the buttons on a team as talented as the Lakers? Forget it. Guard Byron Scott is up and down like a yo-yo. A.C. Green's game at power forward is limited. James Worthy is terrific, but he needs someone to recognize his openings and get him the ball. And have you heard that Kareem turns 42 on April 16? Yet the Lakers gallop on and on with Magic in the saddle, holding the reins with a jockey's touch, sometimes going to the whip, sometimes letting up.
"The MVP depends on what you do for your team, what you do to make everybody else play better and, above all else, whether or not you win," says Thomas. "Who's done that better than Magic?"
Nobody we know, Isiah.