25 years ago today, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson silenced the city of Boston with what he called his “junior, junior skyhook.”
The Los Angeles Lakers were playing the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals, and the Lakers held a 2-1 series lead.
Through the first three games of the series, the home team won and the Celtics were hoping their crowd could help them tie the Finals at two games. Game 4 was close throughout, but the Celtics held a 103-96 lead with 2:09 left to play.
However, the Lakers went on an impressive run in the final minutes and managed to take a 104-103 lead with only 29 seconds left to play. After a Larry Bird three and a free-throw by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Lakers forced a turnover which meant they had the ball with a chance to win.
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So with only seconds left, the Lakers could have gone to Abdul-Jabbar for his untouchable sky-hook, but instead it was Magic who came up clutch. The late, great Chick Hearn was on the call.
“Cooper takes the ball out of bounds, baseline. Kareem and Worthy to the left. Worthy now comes to the right. To the left goes Magic. He’s got it. He didn’t shoot it. Five seconds left. Magic down the middle. Just what I thought. A hook shot from 12 … GOOD! Two seconds left! The Lakers take the lead on Magic Johnson’s running skyhook!”
The Lakers ended up winning the game 107-106 and eventually won the series in six games.