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YouTube Gold: Magic Johnson’s NBA Debut

The basketball world had no idea it was about to be revolutionized

Los Angeles Lakers
Young Magic Johnson with the Los Angeles Lakers

For basketball fans, the new HBO series Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers is a real treat. First of all it’s well cast. John C. Reilly sells the hell out of Jerry Buss. Jason Clark is scary good as Jerry West. And Quincy Isaiah is tremendous as Magic Johnson. You could go through the whole cast but the point is it’s really good and if you can you should watch it.

West is not at all convinced that Magic will be Magic but of course we have the benefit of hindsight. He didn’t think that Johnson had a killer instinct.

And it was an experiment too. No one had dreamed of a 6-9 point guard before. So when he first got to LA no one knew exactly what to expect.

In his first game, Magic confessed to being nervous. And when the Lakers won, he utterly shocked new teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: he wrapped his arms around Kareem and hugged him. On the first day of the season.

You can see how stunned he is when he finally breaks loose. Who the hell is this kid?

They’d all find out soon enough.