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Magic Johnson Was A Few Months Away From Playing With Kobe Bryant And Shaquille O'Neal On The Lakers: He Came Out Of Retirement In 1996 After Not Playing In The NBA For 5 Years

Magic Johnson Was A Few Months Away From Playing With Kobe Bryant And Shaquille O'Neal On The Lakers: He Came Out Of Retirement In 1996 After Not Playing In The NBA For 4 Years

Magic Johnson is one of the greatest players in NBA history. Fans have held Magic in high regard, calling him the greatest point guard in NBA history. Magic was the blueprint for the modern-day NBA point guard; a scoring guard who also excels at playmaking. 

During the peak of his powers, no one could stop Magic and the Lakers. Johnson was an elite passer of the ball, often considered the best ever alongside LeBron James. 

But his career got cut short unfortunately due to health concerns. Magic retired from the NBA in 1991 after an HIV diagnosis was jeopardized. Magic had to walk away from the game at his peak, while only 32 years of age. Few expected Magic to ever lace up his shoes and walk the court.

But that is exactly what he did in 1996. Magic returned to the Los Angeles Lakers in the midst of the 1995-96 NBA season. Perhaps he took inspiration from his friend Michael Jordan, who came out of retirement the season before. 

Magic once again put on the purple and yellow of the Lakers, after a pretty bad stint as the head coach of the Lakers the season before. 

While away from the game, Johnson had kept himself in shape enough for him to be able to return. Johnson played his first game back with the Lakers on January 30th, 1996, coming off the bench against the Warriors. 

Johnson almost got a triple-double on his return, with 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists. Despite being 36 years years of age, Johnson continued to play well, becoming the primary bench option for the Lakers. He averaged 14 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds for the remainder of the season with the Lakers.

Johnson retired at the end of the 1995-96 season. In hindsight, fans wish that he could have played one more season with the Lakers. Because that would have seen Magic play alongside Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. 

If the trio got the opportunity to play together, they would have been one of the greatest of all time. But unfortunately, we never got to see them play together. No one will truly know how dominant that trio would have been at the peak of their powers.