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You Tube Gold: Magic Johnson In The 1979 NCAA Tournament

Still stunning

Magic Johnson in College Basketball Action
Michigan State’s Magic Johnson in action against Illinois

It’s hard to believe now but Magic Johnson was not seen as the top player in his class. He was one of the three best but generally ranked behind Gene Banks, who went to Duke, and Albert King, who wound up at Maryland.

Johnson was a 6-9 forward who ludicrously wanted to be a point guard - not many people thought he could do it, much less that a 6-9 point guard was a good idea.

He proved very quickly that not only was he a superb passer with stunning vision but he was an absolute winner.

Here’s a clip from Michigan State’s 1979 NCAA Tournament game against Notre Dame. Look at the first pass - it won’t take long - which is just surreal. Who does that? Without holding the ball or looking?

That was his game though. He saw things most people couldn’t even imagine. Even today, like Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, and come to think of it Muggsy Bogues, there has never been anyone like him.

On that Notre Dame team, by the way: future NBA rival Bill Laimbeer.