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Jeanie Buss Reveals Why Jerry Buss Selected Magic Johnson As His First Ever Draft Pick For The Lakers: "Not Only Was Magic A Great Player, He Did It With Style."

Jeanie Buss Reveals Why Jerry Buss Selected Magic Johnson As His First Ever Draft Pick For The Lakers: "Not Only Was Magic A Great Player, He Did It With Style."

The Los Angeles Lakers were purchased by Dr. Jerry Buss, a real-estate mogul in 1979 who wanted to make the franchise the single-best in all of the NBA. While he bought a team that already had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on its roster, it was a team that struggled to get wins and had the 1st pick in the 1979 Draft, which the new owner used on drafting Magic Johnson, a point guard coming out of Michigan State.

Buss would allow the Lakers' front office to make whatever move they needed to create a championship-winning team instantly. This led to a formidable team being formed as Buss looked to revamp the basketball game experience inside the arena by putting on display one of the most modern offenses in the NBA, the fast-break, orchestrated by the affectionately nicknamed 'Showtime Lakers'.

Drafting Magic led to 5 championships for the Lakers from 1980 to 1988, a sensational run of titles that can be traced back to Jerry Buss drafting Johnson with the first draft pick he ever made in the NBA. His daughter and current Lakers President, Jeanie, explained why her father chose Magic.  

“He watched the NCAA Final like every basketball fan, that was the Larry Bird, Magic Johnson Final. It was the showmanship, it was the flare, it was the smile that really inspired my dad (to draft Magic). Not only was he a great player, but he did it with style.” 

Acquiring Magic changed the history of the Lakers franchise, as the player would one day even become a minority owner on the squad. He has had a great relationship with the Lakers his entire career, outside a few years of pain from 2019 to 2021. He openly criticized the team for their horrible showing last season as well. 

Dr. Buss revolutionized basketball, but he wouldn't have been able to do so without Magic Johnson on his team. Magic became the perfect partner next to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and ran the floor in one of the most offensively gifted lineups in the NBA. This was a recipe for success and Buss got to add the perfect piece to guarantee NBA success when he drafted Magic.