Magic Johnson was one of the finest basketballers of his time. Anyone who watched him before he joined the National Basketball Association (NBA) knew he was destined for greatness. When he stepped into the league, Johnson was a proven winner and played consistently in the biggest games. He won the NBA multiple times and collected other accolades. This article looks at Magic Johnson’s rings.
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Magic Johnson’s Career
Start of Basketball
Growing up, Magic Johnson idolized Bill Russell. He motivated him to practise, and when he joined his junior high team, he was the best player. He continued showcasing his talent at Everett High School, where he struggled to get along with his teammates.
Once he settled into the squad, Johnson was unplayable. He led the school to a state championship game and wrapped up his high school career with two all-state selections. He was the best player at Michigan State, a decision that influenced his college choice.
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The former point guard played for Michigan State and was its best player. In 1978/79, he played a vital role in the school’s victory over Indiana in the championship game and was the Most Valuable Player. The following year, Magic Johnson applied for the NBA draft.
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The Los Angeles Lakers drafted the hottest player in high school and college as a first-round first-overall pick. This was a continuation of his storied career so far.
Although Johnson arrived at a time when the team struggled to win the NBA championship, the team expected him to play a crucial part in bringing the title to Los Angeles.
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The first Magic Johnson’s rings came in 1980. The team had a strong regular season and faced the Philadelphia 76ers in the final. The team got a new coach at the beginning of the season and didn’t have Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who missed out due to injury.
It proved not to be a problem. Playing in the point guard position, Magic Johnson pulled the strings for the Lakers and helped them win the NBA Championship.
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The second of Magic Johnson’s rings came amidst turmoil and controversy in the team. After a successful start to his NBA career, the point guard missed out on action for most of the 1981 season.
He returned before the playoffs but didn’t make a significant difference. Although they missed out on the championship, Johnson signed a new contract, but things weren’t going well with him and the coach.
He demanded to be traded and the team fired the coach instead. The Lakers fans weren’t happy with Johnson. Despite the controversies off the court, the basketballer posted amazing numbers and took the team to the playoffs. They played against the Philadelphia 76ers once more.
Johnson sank them with a triple-double to give the Lakers a 4-2 lead and delivered another championship for the Lakers.
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He was always at the center of any championship victory or loss. Unfortunately, in the 1984 season, Johnson missed a couple of pivotal points that saw them lose the championship to the Boston Celtics.
In the following campaign, the basketballer made amends. Together with 38-year-old Kareem Abdul Jabbar, they put on a championship-winning performance after a slow start in the finals series.
They got their revenge against the Celtics with a 4-2 win. Both described this final as the highlight of their careers. Magic Johnson’s rings totalled three.
The fourth of five Magic Johnson’s rings came at the expense of the Celtics. In what was now a full-blown rivalry, he clinched the MVP award in the regular season after scoring 12.2 assists, 23.9 points, and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Again, Johnson was a thorn in the Boston Celtics flesh. He sank a decisive shot that gave the Lakers a 107-106 victory and sealed the championship after six games. The Michigan native won his third MVP Finals.
The Lakers won back-to-back NBA Championships, a feat that the Boston Celtics last accomplished in the 1969 finals. Even though Johnson wasn’t the most influential player, he averaged 13 assists, 21.2 points, and 5.7 rebounds per game in the championship series. This was Magic Johnson’s last ring.
Johnson’s career with the Lakers went on until 1991, when he announced he tested HIV positive. This prompted his retirement to focus on treating the illness. But he wasn’t done with the NBA. He returned in 1994 as a player-coach. Two years later, Johnson thought about returning to action but permanently retired from the sport.
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