Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson’s new documentary series — “They Call Me Magic” — has unearthed some unique stories from the five-time NBA champion’s career and life.
The four-part docuseries premiered on April 22 on Apple TV+, focusing on Johnson’s life journey. The producers set high expectations for the show by claiming they secured unprecedented access to the Showtime star through decades of footage and interviews from those close to him.
On the eve of the premiere, Johnson made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live to discuss the docuseries. Kimmel asked the Lakers legend about his return to the court in 1996, five years after an HIV diagnosis forced his retirement.
And Johnson revealed that in the second game after his comeback, Michael Jordan told him he should consider retiring again after beating the Lakers 99-84 with his Chicago Bulls:
Oh, man… First of all, you know, they really showed me the difference between a championship team and a playoff team. They were a championship team, we were just a regular team and they played me so hard. They were physical. They pushed me around. Michael, after the game he pulled me aside — I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody this — he met me in between the locker rooms. And he said: ‘Earvin, you have to remember now. You’re not with Kareem. You’re not with James Worthy. All the guys you used to play with Showtime are not on that Laker team anymore. So remember, maybe you should think about retiring.’
Kimmel then brought up Jordan telling Johnson and Boston Celtics great Larry Bird that it was his time to dominate the league back in 1992 — when they all teamed up on the fabled “Dream Team” for the Olympic Games in Barcelona. And Johnson said they agreed with Jordan:
So Larry Bird and I are on the back of the bus. And he says, ‘I just want you to know there’s a new sheriff in town — and his name is Michael Jordan.’ And we had dominated the league, both Larry and I, and the Celtics and Lakers, for the whole 80s. And so it was his turn. And so he just sat back, had a cigar, and just said ‘It’s my league now.’ And you know what we did, Jimmy? We said: ‘You’re right.’
The Lakers and the Celtics won eight titles combined during the 1980s. Bird and Magic each claimed the MVP award three times before Jordan’s Bulls rose to the top.
Over the next decade, Jordan would reach legendary status in the NBA, leading Chicago to two three-peats under head coach Phil Jackson.
Magic supports Jerry West in dispute over ‘Winning Time’ portrayal
Johnson joined in defending Jerry West defense amid the fellow Lakers legend’s dispute with HBO over his portrayal in “Winning Time.” West claims he’s been mischaracterized in the show and requested an apology and a retraction from the network.
Johnson then shared an article on Twitter that highlighted West’s contributions to the Lakers and L.A.
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