Magic Johnson 1980-Centre of Attention

A Magic moment.


Lets take it back, way back, back into time, to something videotaped earlier. It's Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals and the Los Angeles Lakers lead the Philadelphia 76ers three games to two, but their player of the decade, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, has gone down to an ankle injury.

In the first five games, No. 33 averaged his jersey number in points. With 'Cap staying in Southern California and not making the trip to Philly, who would replace him and fill his spot? "Never fear, E.J. is here," a young rookie point guard told his team as as he took a seat in the captain's chair on the Lakers flight to Philadelphia, smiling that soon-to-be infamous, toothy grin.


NBA Finals, Game 6


Earvin Johnson was determined to show the Lakers, Sixers, the NBA and the whole world his Magic, as the 6'9" guard known more for passing than shooting was primed to step in at centre and take on Jabbar's scoring load. Still, nobody believed that the Magic man could pull something out the bag. "See you in L.A. for Game 7," Philly fans told the Lakers.

Another revolutionary basketball legend saw things differently, however. Bill Russell tells us pregame "the pressures on Philadelphia." Meanwhile, a smiling Earvin, speaking like a young kid from the country,is humble and ready, telling the press, "I enjoy challenges, it's a challenge tonight to see what I can do," before saying hello to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson.

Everyone is watching this young man, from his family in Lansing to Kareem in L.A. Game on!


First Quarter

Magic doesn't win the battle of the tip, but he gets down to war in the paint with Darryl Dawkins, proving he's ready.

Jamaal Wilkes' first basket is smooth as silk, as is his second to open up the game. Philly's Mo Cheeks then goes coast to coast as Magic's great pass to Coope...

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