Magic Johnson was the orchestrator of one of the league’s most dominant teams. The Los Angeles Lakers became the powerhouse and gold standard behind Johnson‘s play and leadership. He also garnered a strong reputation for his bubbly and infectious personality. Former Lakers great James Worthy once perfectly described the fellow Hall of Famer.
Magic Johnson’s illustrious NBA career
Before entering the NBA, Johnson guided Michigan State to an NCAA title.
He quickly translated that success to the next level by transforming the Lakers into a dynasty throughout the 1980s. Meanwhile, Johnson’s intense rivalry with Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird anchored the league’s rise to popularity and fueled his motivation.
In his 13 seasons, Johnson earned five NBA titles and three Finals MVP awards, garnered three regular-season MVP awards and 12 All-Star Game selections, and received nine All-NBA First Team nods. He led the league in assists four times and steals twice while remaining the league’s all-time leader with 11.2 assists per contest.
Johnson guided the Lakers to nine NBA Finals appearances while earning a pair of NBA titles over Bird and the Celtics. He remains regarded as the greatest point guard in NBA history and one of the best talents ever.
His strong personality also fueled his illustrious legacy that his teammate James Worthy’s words captured perfectly.
James Worthy perfectly described Magic Johnson’s greatness: ‘I don’t think there will ever be another 6′ 9″ point guard who smiles while he humiliates you’
Beyond Johnson‘s dominance on the court, the Lakers star guard quickly became one of the league’s most beloved players through his infectious personality.
His big smile created a strong positive reputation as an extremely likable, elevating him to the face of the league alongside Bird. Although Johnson possessed a bubbly personality, he would tap into his ultra-competitive internal drive to push his team forward toward success.
His longtime Lakers teammate James Worthy once perfectly described the balance the five-time NBA champion possessed personality and performance on the court.
“I don’t think there will ever be another 6′ 9″ point guard who smiles while he humiliates you,” Worthy said via The 100 Greatest Athletes.
Johnson was a one-of-a-kind talent due to his size, basketball IQ, and court vision. He excelled most in transition, where his passing took centerstage, fueling the Lakers’ Showtime Era in the 1980s. The combination of his dominance on the court with his strong personality made him the most popular player in the league during his career.
Beyond that, his aurora on the court was much more than pure happiness as his passion for the game bleed through. His happy-go-lucky personality shined through his unwavering connection to basketball that remains strong well past his playing days.
Lakers Showtime era forever changed the NBA
Johnson led the charge as the face of one of the most tantalizing and successful teams in league history.
It was much more than his play as the team featured a strong collective of talent headlined by fellow Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy with key role players such as Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, A.C. Green, and Mychal Thompson.
The Lakers faced fierce competition from the Celtics and Detroit Pistons in the 1980s, but they remained the clear-cut team of the decade.
“Our basketball IQ was greater than any team I have ever seen,” Johnson said during an interview with Cari Champion on behalf of American Express in 2017. “We were mentally tough.”
Moreover, the Lakers Showtime era’s left an everlasting impact.