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YouTube Gold: High School Magic

You can see the genius coming

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Los Angeles Lakers
LOS ANGELES - 1987: Magic Johnson #32 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball during an NBA game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California in 1987.
Photo by: Mike Powell/Getty Images

In 1977, recruiting types were in a frenzy. There were three guys at the top of the class: Albert King was generally seen as the best. Gene Banks, who shocked the recruiting world when he picked Duke, was very close behind. And third behind them, by most accounts, was Earvin Johnson.

King chose Maryland and Johnson picked Michigan State.

Banks helped lead Duke to the Final Four in 1978. Maryland under Lefty Driesell was a tremendous program but it rarely got far in the post-season and King was generally seen as...well underachiever is harsh but he never lived up to the hype.

Johnson on the other hand, after leading Michigan State to the Elite Eight in 1978 only to lose to eventual national champions Kentucky, got to the title game in 1979 where he had his first meeting of his legendary rivalry with Larry Bird.

He left after that for the NBA where he amused many by saying that he wanted to play point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The idea of a 6-9 point guard seemed ludicrous at the time. Get in the paint!

But he did play point guard, and brilliantly, and he and Bird redefined the NBA and ultimately basketball.

Here’s some video of Magic in high school. It doesn’t take long to see that he was a superb ballhandler, exceptionally agile and a brilliant passer.

It wouldn’t be long before the world would know.

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