Magic Johnson was a mercurial talent the likes of which we have never seen before or after his stint in the NBA. Johnson, oft considered by many to be the greatest point guard of all time.
Magic is a legendary figure in the NBA, one of the best to ever play the game. Johnson entered the league in 1979, as the 1st overall pick in the draft. Going to the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson immediately formed a solid tandem with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was one of the best players in the NBA at the time.
That season, the Lakers reached the NBA Finals, going against 'Dr. J' Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers. During the series, the Lakers were able to take a 3-2 lead over the 76ers.
But Kareem Abdul-Jabbar suffered an injury that kept him out for the title-decider Game 6. Without any options at the center position, Lakers head coach Paul Westhead decided to play Johnson at the center position.
Despite it not being his natural position, Johnson put an all-time classic performance against the 76ers. Johnson was used as a guard, forward, and center throughout the game. Magic put up 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in Game 6 to clinch the NBA championship for the Lakers.
Johnson was named Finals MVP for his incredible performances, making him the only player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP in his rookie season.
The next season, Johnson and the Lakers were knocked out in their title defense season by the Houston Rockets. So in 1981, the Lakers brought in Pat Riley as head coach. Under Riley, Johnson only got better and helped lead the Lakers back to the NBA Finals once again.
In a rematch against the Philadelphia 76ers, the result was the same. Johnson helped the Lakers beat the 76ers in 6 games to win the NBA championship. Johnson, at the age of 22, won his second Finals MVP.
What Magic was able to achieve by the age of 22 is historic. Given how the NBA Draft works now, it is possible that we may never see a player achieve what Magic did when he was 22 years old.
Johnson's legacy was secured in the first few years of his career. But he still went on to find more success, winning 3 more NBA championships, 3 regular-season MVPs, a Finals MVP, and several All-Star and All-NBA teams.
Magic had to, unfortunately, walk away from the game at an early age. But when he did return in 1996 for a short stint with the Lakers, he showed that he could continue to thrive despite no longer being in his physical prime.
Magic is still one of the most revered figures in the NBA to this day. What he was able to do in his career is historic, and many players to this day strive to achieve a modicum of the greatness that Johnson was able to during his legendary career.