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You Tube Gold: Magic Johnson

The guy had the right nickname.

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

To a great extent, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird defined each other and also a generation of NBA basketball.

Neither one was physically overwhelming. Both were 6-9 and in ways a bit awkward. Both were also brilliant passers. It’s easier to remember Bird’s in one way because his were, in some ways, a bit flashier. Johnson, however, was just as good.

When you watch this video, you’ll see a guy who remains unique. Kobe Bryant matched his NBA championship total and Michael Jordan surpassed him, but neither won the way Johnson did.

He had the ball in his hand but usually he ended up giving it to someone else and often in spectacular fashion. They called it Showtime for a reason and the reason was Magic.

There have been other 6-9 guards since Magic retired, but none who could hold the game in the palm of his hands and toy with it the way he did. He was a prototype but no one else has yet managed to do what he did so as of now, you might say he’s more of a visionary than a prototype.