This Week In Lakers History: Magic Johnson Fills In At Center In 1980 Finals

Even amongst the greatest NBA legends to ever play the game, very few can say they won their team an NBA championship in their rookie season. Magic Johnson is someone who can.

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The first pick of the 1979 draft, Johnson immediately became a focal point of the Lakers and, along with reigning MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, led the team to their first NBA Finals since 1973.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar suffered a serious ankle injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Suddenly, the team was without the 33 points, 13 rebounds, and nearly five blocks that Kareem was giving them in the series.

But that is why they call him Magic. On May 16, 1980, Johnson would start at center, play all five positions, and total 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists in the Lakers 123-107 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

The win clinched the Lakers’ seventh NBA Championship, and the first for Magic, who was named NBA Finals MVP for his performance.

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This week, we remember Magic Johnson for his legendary performance in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals.

If you want to re-live the game, or have never seen it yourself, check it out below via the NBA’s official YouTube page:

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Top 5 Lakers NBA Finals Moments


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