Throughout the years, it has been well established that Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan share tremendous respect for each other. In many ways, Jordan used Johnson as a steady source of motivation to push himself forward toward being compared to the Los Angeles Lakers great. Before he graced the NBA hardwood for the Chicago Bulls, Jordan‘s admiration for the star point guard far exceeds what many may know about that uniquely showed his respect.
Magic Johnson’s impact on Michael Jordan
Before Jordan had his rise to stardom in the NBA, it was Johnson that quickly reigned supreme in the league.
Following a highly successful collegiate career, he became a superstar from the get-go for the Lakers as one of their driving forces. During Johnson’s first five seasons before Jordan’s arrival, he had won two out of his four trips to the NBA Finals, two NBA Finals MVP awards, four All-Star Game selections, and two All-NBA First Team nominations.
That only further elevated him in Jordan’s eyes as he eventually became the benchmark that the North Carolina product needed to push him forward. Through his first several years in the league, there were questions about whether he could reach Johnson or Bird’s status by being able to lead his team to an NBA title.
The influence that Johnson had on Jordan was unquestionable questionable, especially during his youth.
Michael Jordan had the nickname “Magic Jordan”
Before Jordan stepped into the league, he garnered a strong admiration for the Lakers star point guard.
Johnson was one of the players that he idolized growing up as he was a fan of the Lakers. During an interview with Playboy in 1992, Jordan revealed that he had the nickname “Magic Jordan” during his high school days, and even his first car had the license plate with that moniker.
“I liked him when I was in high school,” Jordan said. “They used to call me Magic Jordan. My first car had a license plate with Magic Jordan on it. It was a 1976 Grand Prix … There was a little bit of envy because of the way I came into the league. Magic came in with even more flair and even more success. And he should have been even bigger than I was in terms of endorsements and business opportunities. But he wasn’t marketed that way. And I was fortunate to have good people. So there was some envy … During my third year, he invited me out to play in his summer charity game. We ironed out our differences in private in the locker room and we began a relationship.”
There was undoubtedly a significant influence from Johnson on Jordan that helped push him to find success in the game of basketball. He had that kind of impact on many generations after him and was critical alongside Larry Bird for helping bring the NBA to prominence.
Johnson’s flashy playing style and charisma on the court had a massive impact on Jordan that helped shape his Hall of Fame career.
Magic Johnson passed the torch to Michael Jordan
Johnson served as the benchmark for Jordan to surpass as he firmly established himself as one of the greatest NBA players.
The Bulls star guard finally got his chance to get the torch passed to him in the 1991 NBA Finals winning his first championship. It set the stage for Jordan to take a strong grip hold over being the face of the league.
From that point on, his career took off to the next level helping guide him to a dominant stretch of earning six NBA titles in eight seasons. It’s not hard to see that Johnson has had an indubitable impact on Jordan that helped provide the necessary motivation and guidance to take off to legendary heights.