Skip to main content

The day Magic Johnson showed up at the local Y and destroyed the cockiest pickup team in L.A.

Magic Johnson Signed A 25-Year, $25 Million Contract With The Los Angeles Lakers In 1981

Read the story about Magic Johnson and how he destroyed the cockiest pickup team in LA.

I used to have a membership at the Hollywood YMCA, and there as a pickup game there every single day. The normal game was just a bunch of guys who were there every day, but once or twice a week, some crazy good ex-college and sometimes even ex-pros came in. You had 5 man teams, played to 10 points, winning team kept the court and the next team rotated in. When the really good guys came, they always played on the same team, and they ran the court for hours at a time. (They were dicks about it too, acting like they owned the place, etc).

There was this really old man (60 or so) who played a lot, he wasn't worth much but he could bomb threes like mad when he was hot, and he always claimed he was friends with Magic Johnson and that one day he'd bring him in and we'd finally get to beat this one really good group of guys. We all thought he was full of shit. Then, lo and behold, one day the group of really good guys came in and started winning, (one of them played for UCLA back in the day, and one of them had played pro in Europe) and they started ordering everyone around, calling cheap fouls, etc. So this old man lost it, he leaves and says he'll be back in twenty minutes.

Twenty minutes later, he came back with, no shit, Magic Johnson. This was like summer of 1997, so Magic was probably only a year or two removed from his comeback season with the Lakers. He was in really good shape, and he looked like he was about 37 feet tall compared to me, and I'm 6'3". So, Magic and this old man formed a team, I tried to get on it but they needed runners and I was a known gunner. Eventually, it's their turn, and they take the court. Magic played PG, dribbled the ball up the court, and he said he would only shoot the ball two times per game. "The first bucket of the game, and the last." The other team just scoffed and said he could shoot all he wanted, they were obviously not scared at all. Long story short, Magic absolutely destroyed the game, made those guys look like little boys.

As he stated, he did indeed score the first bucket of the game, a very long three-pointer (it actually only counted as 2, that's how we played) and then he just became strictly a passer. It seemed like he grabbed just about every rebound of the entire game, and made some insane passes. At one point he actually dribbled the ball up the court by running backwards, and was laughing and obviously not even trying at all. The old man who called him there ended up hitting a three to make the score 9-3, or maybe 9-4, I can't recall, but then Magic said "Ok, you guys get one more possession, then this game is over." With this big grin on his face. So the other team took the ball up the court, but all of a sudden, like a lightning bolt or something, Magic just... it was almost like he disappeared, that's how fast he moved... he just exploded off his feet, stole the ball from the dribbler, dribbled the ball up the court like a sprinting deer, took it all the way to the hole and dunked it.

Not a hard dunk, not a spectacular dunk, it was more like he dunked it the way a normal person would open their car door, like, his facial expression didn't even change. Game over. Epilogue: The other guys were mad and demanded a rematch, but Magic said the rules of the court were that they had to give up the court to the winning team and wait their turn to play again. Magic ended up playing there that day for about 2 hours, and won at least 10 games in that timespan. The really good team played his team 2 more times, and again Magic's team won both times, score was never even close.

Credit: toldyaso