When talking about the all-time greats in NBA history, it’s impossible to leave Los Angeles Lakers legendary point guard Magic Johnson out of the conversation. At 6-foot-9, Johnson brought a unique combination of size, skill, and flair to the position.
His stellar play was the driving force in the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s, who had great NBA championship odds, while his rivalry with Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird was influential in expanding the league’s popularity. Johnson’s career was unfortunately cut short in 1991 after testing positive for HIV, but the Hall of Famer left a lasting impact on the game very few can match.
How Many Rings Does Magic Johnson Have?
Johnson won five NBA championships during his playing career, all coming with the Lakers – 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988.
LA’s 1985 title was perhaps the most significant, marking the first time the Lakers had defeated the Celtics in the NBA Finals. Johnson and company would dethrone Bird’s Celtics again in 1987, the former earning Finals MVP honors for the third and final time in his career.
However, Johnson’s most memorable Finals moment came during his rookie season in Game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers in 1980.
Up 3-2, and with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sidelined due to a sprained ankle suffered in Game 5, Lakers coach Paul Westhead opted to start Johnson at center. He responded with 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals as LA downed the Sixers 123-107, ushering in the Lakers’ dynasty. Johnson was named Finals MVP and remains the only rookie to capture the award.
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