Throwback Thursday: Magic Starts At Center In Game 6 Of 1980 Finals

For this throwback Thursday, we look back to one of the greatest moments in Laker History. With the Lakers leading the Philadelphia 76ers 3-2 in the series, the team headed to Philadelphia in hopes of ending the series. Unfortunately for the Lakers, season MVP Kareem Abdul Jabbar was forced to stay in Los Angeles because of a badly sprained ankle. Kareem had been the Lakers star player that season averaging 31 points and 12 rebounds in the postseason.

However, Kareem’s injury opened the door for the next Laker legend to take center stage. Earvin “Magic” Johnson bravely stepped up and agreed to play center for the injured Kareem. Magic was a rookie from Michigan State, coming off a national championship a season ago.

Magic was in the midst of a stellar rookie postseason, averaging almost a triple-double at 18 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. However, nobody could have foreseen what Magic would accomplish during that game.

Standing at 6′ 10″, Johnson was a huge point guard with magnificent vision, however, his size allowed him to slide over to center and cause matchup problems for the Sixers. Magic would go on to have his best game as a Laker with a 42 point, 15 rebounds and seven assist game to lead the Lakers to their seventh championship, and first since 1972.