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Yes Magic, you would team up with other superstars. In fact you did.

Jul 22, 2010, 10:13 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for magic-johnson.jpgMagic Johnson has done what we all do — we remember ourselves as better and more noble than we really were. We rewrite our personal histories to fit those better selves.

Remember how Magic Johnson agreed with Michael Jordan? How he said the two would never have teamed up with other superstars because they were so competitive? “We didn’t think about it ’cause that’s not what we were about,” was Magic’s quote.

Over at TrueHoop in a fantastic post, one reader called Magic out on that, referencing a 1991 interview in the Los Angeles Times where Magic recalls how he came out of college and to the Lakers.

Magic Johnson would have returned to Michigan State rather than play for the Chicago Bulls.

“I’d have stayed in school,” he said here Tuesday, standing alone outside Gate 3 1/2 of Chicago Stadium, the house that could have been his. “A coin toss changed the course of my whole life.” Chicago called heads in a 1979 coin flip with Los Angeles for the No. 1 pick in the NBA college draft. It came up tails.

Johnson signed with the Lakers after his sophomore year of college and proceeded to win five championships. The Bulls picked second, took UCLA’s David Greenwood and have won no championships.

“I wouldn’t have played here,” Johnson said on the eve of Game 2 of the NBA finals between his team and the team that could have been his. “The only reason I came out was to play with Kareem and the Lakers.”

Magic didn’t have to go looking for good running mates, because he came onto a loaded team. He helped put them over the top — his Game 6 of the 1980 finals is legendary — but that was Kareem’s team. The Lakers only got the top pick via a lopsided trade, they had won 47 games the year before and made it to the second round of the playoffs.

Magic is fiercely competitive, he wanted to win. But no, he never teamed up with other free agents to forma superteam. He didn’t have to — he did it coming out of college.

  1. MtyQuinn - Jul 22, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    For the idiot that called MJ out. You must be smiking crab grass. I’m a Laker fan, and have been for over 30 years. I remember when Magic was drafted by the Lakers. Magic made the Lakers what they were. The ShowTime Lakers would have never been if it weren’t for MJ. To compare MJ comimg out of College after a preferable coin flip to the self proclained “King James” specticle is uterly rediculous.

  2. Amazing... - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:41 AM

    how everyone forgets that LeBron played on a Cleveland team that won over 60 games the last two sedasons! He didn’t do that by himself, you numbskulls. He had help and he gave up in the playoffs to persue his OWN agenda. Anyone watching objectively, could see that.
    The difference between LJ and Kobe or Jordan:
    LJ: “whaaa, I’ve got to try and score late in the game AGAIN? I need help!”
    Kobe/Jordan: “Give me the ball!”
    Phulease…LeBron ruined his legacy.

  3. Absolutely correct! - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:47 AM


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