Tuesday Magic Johnson told Bloomberg News he would’ve never teamed up with other star NBA players the way LeBron James elected to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat:
Magic: “We didn’t think about it ’cause that’s not what we were about. From college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird.”
Unfortunately for Johnson, newspaper archives exist. Specifically, the June 5, 1991, edition of the LOS ANGELES TIMES in which Johnson essentially admitted to doing exactly what James recently did.
From Mike Downey of the L.A. Times, circa ‘91:
Magic Johnson would have returned to Michigan State rather than play for the Chicago Bulls.
“I’d have stayed in school,” he said here Tuesday, standing alone outside Gate 3 1/2 of Chicago Stadium, the house that could have been his. “A coin toss changed the course of my whole life.”
Chicago called heads in a 1979 coin flip with Los Angeles for the No. 1 pick in the NBA college draft. It came up tails.
Johnson signed with the Lakers after his sophomore year of college and proceeded to win five championships. The Bulls picked second, took UCLA’s David Greenwood and have won no championships.
“I wouldn’t have played here,” Johnson said on the eve of Game 2 of the NBA finals between his team and the team that could have been his. “The only reason I came out was to play with Kareem and the Lakers.”
Magic flashback: “from college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird.”
Michael Jordan said the same about James as Johnson.
Wonder how Bulls fans would feel today had Bulls draft pick Jordan taken the same tact as Magic - and then played fast and loose with the truth?