Throwback Thursday: Magic Johnson

VIDEO: Magic Johnson’s top 10 career clutch moments

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!

Today’s Topic: Magic Johnson gets drafted

When the Lakers moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles before the 1960-61 season, the team had every reason to believe its tradition of championship runs and NBA titles would continue in its new digs. To be sure, the Lakers were successful in California, sporting superstars like Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Yet for all that star power, the Lakers were 1-8 in their Finals appearances from 1961-73. When the team acquired Abdul-Jabbar before the 1975-76 season, it was thought he could get the team back on the championship track, but he never even led L.A. to a Finals by himself. The 1978-79 team made it to the Western Conference semifinals and entered the offseason with some hope. It held the rights to the Utah’s first-round pick in the 1979 Draft as compensation for the Jazz signing Goodrich as a free agent a few summers earlier.

That pick ended being the No. 1 overall choice and with it the Lakers selected Earvin “Magic” Johnson. From there, L.A.’s championship ways were restored as he led the Lakers to nine Finals (and five championships) during his storied L.A. career.

On this date in 1979, Johnson was selected No. 1 overall in the 1979 Draft and in honor of that, we look back on his career:

Gallery: Magic Johnson’s career

What are your favorite Magic memories? Leave your comments below!


  1. john barnes says:


  2. Omari says:

    This is who, I idolized growing up! There will never be another Magic Johnson! His infectious love for the game and his teammates is unmatched by anyone that has ever played before or after! True essence of TEAM PLAYER!

  3. Derollez Christophe says:

    “MAGIC IS THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME….!! It ‘s been said before ….

  4. gk says:

    Kareem has a migraine. Magic, the rookie, plays center in the Finals. And LA wins. If Magic never did another thing in his career he’d still be a legend.