The 1979-80 season would be the first year of a prosperous era for the Los Angeles Lakers. They did their work to land Magic Johnson in the NBA Draft, and paired him with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon, and Jamaal Wilkes.
The results on the court were even better than expected, with the Lakers winning 60 games for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The playoffs were a breeze, as the Lakers needed just two five-game series’ to get the NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 1980 NBA Finals was home to one of the most iconic moments in Lakers franchise history. Abdul-Jabbar was unable to play in game six, with the Lakers holding a 3-2 lead.
Fully expecting to come back for a Game 7, the Lakers started rookie point guard Johnson at center. He would go on to score 42 points and grab 15 rebounds in a Lakers win, securing their first championship of the Showtime era.