NBA: Remembering Magic’s best performance for the Lakers
Born Earvin Johnson Jr. in 1959 in Lansing, Michigan, Magic Johnson dominated the court as one of the best basketball players of all time. After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s.
Johnson's career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star game, and many more. He played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons before his retirement.
The Game 6 of 1980 NBA Finals is considered as Magic Johnson’s best performance. The Lakers were leading the best of seven series with the score of 3-2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the league's MVP, but midway through Game 5, he suffered a severely sprained ankle but still somehow managed to come back in the game in the fourth quarter to lead the Lakers to victory in the 5th game.
The team gathered at the airport for the flight to Philadelphia for their next game, but Abdul-Jabbar stayed home. Before the game, Magic announced to his teammates: "Never fear, E.J. is here!".
Johnson started the game at center and eventually played all five positions in a magnificent performance and was selected as MVP for this game scoring 42 points, giving 7 assists along with 15 rebounds.
The Lakers also received strong performances from Wilkes who scored 37 points and 10 rebounds and Norm Nixon. Jim Chones played strong defense and stopped the76ers. Los Angeles ended up winning by 16 points, 123-107.
The Western Conference champion Lakers defeated the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 to win their first NBA Title in 6 years. After the game, he looked into the TV cameras and sent a message to Abdul-Jabbar: "This one's for you, Big Fella!". What made Johnson's performance even more remarkable was that he was an NBA rookie at that time and was just 20 years old. He established himself as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.