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In honor of Magic Johnson’s 55th birthday, how about a highlight package? (VIDEO)

Aug 14, 2014, 9:59 PM EDT

I’ll admit my bias up front — Magic Johnson is my favorite player ever.

He turned 55 today.

He played fast but he played smart, and always with flair and creativity. He broke the point guard mold at 6’9″, a height that let him see the whole court, but what he saw was different from what everyone else was seeing. He was two moves ahead. He’d bring the ball up the court, you could see his eyes get wide and you knew that second that he had already figured this sequence out in his head. It was checkmate, the defense just didn’t know it yet.

I could go on about how Magic’s contributions off the court — helping change the perceptions about HIV, his work as a businessman in Los Angeles — were more important than what he did on the court. (We’ll just ignore his work as an analyst.)

For a few minutes, just sit back and enjoy greatness.

Hat tip to wetagua for putting together that package.

  1. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 14, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    Greatest combination of talent & personality the NBA has ever seen. He was a terrific posterboy for Stern and if I was an adult in the 80’s I have no doubt he’d be my favorite player of all time. (In fact I’m pretty angry I missed out on Bird vs. Magic in the 80’s)

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:00 AM

      Pro,

      It was awesome to be able to see them in the 80’s. Sad part is I’m old now too…

      Something worthwhile to see, for those who care to, was done by HBO sports.

      It’s a documentary on Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. It covers everything, behind the scenes things too, like when they filmed a commercial together at Larry Bird’s French Lick, IN house in the summer on off season.

      It is 87 min’s long though. It’s on Youtube.

      Just Google

      “Magic Johnson and Larry Bird: A Courtship of Rivals” It is worth seeing as it covers pretty much everything between them.

      Both men know they will be linked to their graves and beyond.

      Includes video of Magic attending Larry Bird’s retirement ceremony in the Boston Garden while he’s wearing a Celtics jersey…

      • spthegr8 - Aug 15, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        ^^^ That Magic and Bird: Courtship of rivals was awesome. CRAZY to think Bird hurt his back paving his mothers driveway. Could have easily paid too have it done but, the way Bird saw it, why pay somebody to do what I can do myself. The ESPN 30 For 30: The Announcement was really good also. They were rivals but, Bird was one of the people who stuck by Magic and was noticeably shaken by the news of Magic having HIV! The fact that Magic stayed focused on basketball being in the lime light of L.A. and being it’s King is also pretty amazing.Contrary too what many believe, MAGIC & BIRD saved the NBA, not MJ!!! IJS!!! ^^^

  2. antistratfordian - Aug 14, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Magic is the muhfuggin man.

  3. dacapt704 - Aug 14, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    The GOAT

    • trevor123698 - Aug 15, 2014 at 4:01 AM

      no question about it. best to ever play the game. could guard wilt to tony parker.

  4. rexgrossman8 - Aug 14, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Poetry. Pure Poetry.

  5. mackcarrington - Aug 14, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    I dont understand what you people were doing, not being of age in the 80’s to see Magic at his best.
    I mean, what was your excuse? And don’t give me that, “Well, I wasn’t born yet.” crap. That’s lame!

  6. sumkat - Aug 14, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    When is he going to let the rest of the world in on how he cured his HIV?

    • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 14, 2014 at 11:47 PM

      South Park figured it out. You only have to inject $180,000 cash into your blood and you’re cured. So I don’t know what Africa is up to… hasn’t word got to them yet?

  7. campcouch - Aug 15, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    I’m from out East so I saw more of Bird than Magic. Not to keen on Johnson’s personal dealings but he definitely was a great player. Post first retirement Magic not so much, but pre, no doubt one of the all time greats on the court.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      What’s wrong with his “personal dealings”? Are his years of work promoting HIV awareness and community work in Los Angeles bad or something?

  8. trevor123698 - Aug 15, 2014 at 4:02 AM

    The best player to ever play the game. Watch his old tapes. He runs the entire floor. The game revolves around him

  9. davidly - Aug 15, 2014 at 5:14 AM

    Too often overlooked in the GoaT debate. The number he did on the Sixers subbing for Kareem in the finals sets him far apart, in my opinion. You’ll never see a rookie do that again.

    • bougin89 - Aug 15, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      I agree. Just look at his stat line from the 86/87 season:

      23.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 12.2 apg, 1.7 spg while shooting 52.2% from the field.

      Or like you pointed out as a rookie this was his stat line in 16 playoff games:

      18.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 9.4 apg, 3.1 spg.

      Truly incredible.

  10. mungman69 - Aug 15, 2014 at 5:22 AM

    He DESTROYED the Sixers. Amazing

  11. 00maltliquor - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:29 AM

    If I had to choose between being an unstoppable scorer like MJ or being a straight magician with the rock, making the game easier for everyone else and running a team like Magic…

    I’m going Magic all day long, 8 days a week. Of course, this is just my personal preference.

    • loungefly74 - Aug 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      greatest Laker of all time…

      • imakcds - Aug 15, 2014 at 5:14 PM

        Magic is my ATF player, bar none, but the greatest Laker, in my mind without question, is Jerry West.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        youngin’s forget about Kareem too much.

        can’t say well he played in Milwaukee for 6 yrs and not enough with the Lakers.

        Kareem played 14 seasons with the Lakers. 1093 games played as a Laker.

        Magic played 13 seasons with the Lakers and played 906 games as a Laker.

        Kareem’s career PER was higher than Magic’s but Kareem’s Laker PER was a tad below Magics as Magic’s was 24.1 to Kareem’s 23.4

        It isn’t a slam dunk that Magic was the best Laker ever. Kareem’s numbers stack up very well to Magic’s.

        Kareem led the league in PER 5 times as Laker. Magic never led the league in PER, ever.

        Kareem led the league in win share’s per 48 min’s 5 times as a Laker.

        Magic led the league in win share’s per 48 min’s once in his career.

        Kareem 6 titles total and 5 with the Lakers just like Magic had 5 with the Lakers.

        Kareem had 6 league MVP’s to 3 for Magic

        Kareem beats him in all 1st teams, defensive teams etc…

        Don’t forget the older players ya’ll.

        might just be a tie… but darn if Kareem’s numbers aren’t amazing (just like Magic’s were)

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 15, 2014 at 9:37 PM

        That’s debatable. You can go Kareem, Wilt, Kobe, Magic, even West.

        There was this old head I would talk to about all things Lakers and and he told me out of all the players he’s witnessed in his life, Jerry was the best. You honestly cant go wrong with either of those afforementioned though.

      • loungefly74 - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:16 AM

        ditto, malt. my personal fav is Magic. I did see Kareem play albeit the later part of his career. never saw West/Wilt play so its just nearly impossible to compare…at least for me. this “youngin'” is only 40. hehe.

        also…i’m just not a huge fan of PERS. I feel that stats dont account for all the varibales especially the intangible ones. Best way to evaluate is to watch.

        all good, homies!

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:53 AM

        Yeah real talk (PER stats). Hell, I’m 31, so you’ve seen a lot more then me! Only thing I got a RIDICULOUS memory and I started really watching basketball at the age of 4.

        So yeah, I caught Kareem towards the end. Magic, I never really noticed it that much but I subconsciously patterned my offensive game from him. After watching the video I was a little shocked and humbled. I thought my style of game was unique and my own, come to find out I was bitting Magic my whole life. Lol

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        Oh yeah, almost forgot. I’m going Kobe. I feel like he’s the 2nd greatest player to ever play the game. But boy ooh boy it’s hard to leave the others out.

        Real talk, when it’s all said and done, I really wonder where I’ll have LBJ stack up. Top 5 for sure…..but WhoTF gets bumped off!!!???

  12. dedalus13 - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    “Hat tip to wetagua for putting together that package.”

    no disrespect but all the material here comes from “Always Showtime” (1993)
    for those who haven’t seen it you should take a look. As a teen that was my favourite bball vhs with “dazzling dunks & basketball bloopers”… The good ol’ times :-p

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      Really? They put this together two years before California Love came out?

      • dedalus13 - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:07 AM

        Well yes (god i m old). The music here has been added by the “editor” who apparently just kind of deleted all the scenes between highlights (If you pay attention you will notice this is not chronological of magic’s carreer. Sadly his HS and college plays are not included here… Really if you ve not seen the video you should look it up on youtube. I think that was much better than “come fly with me” for instance)

    • hubermeersmans - Aug 15, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      Wow!! I do have the videotape ‘Dazzling dunks and basketball bloopers’ at home… I bought it in Brighton, England in 1991…
      What a show with Marv Albert and Frank Layden!!

  13. iammr713 - Aug 15, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    My favorite player growing up!!

  14. imakcds - Aug 15, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    He is my #1 pick of ANY player, past or present, to start a team with. Conduct the draft, Magic makes any 4 he’s teamed with Winners.

  15. csbanter - Aug 15, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    Magic was the s hit simply put

  16. bballhistorian - Aug 15, 2014 at 3:29 AM

    *Still the only rookie to win Finals MVP…

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