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YouTube Gold: The First Meeting Between Michael Jordan And Magic Johnson

With Showtime at or near peak performance and a brilliant new talent collide, the NBA was on a roll.

Michael vs. Magic
Michael Jordan guards Magic Johnson in an undated NBA game between the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers

Michael Jordan was an immediate success at UNC. James Worthy has said that he was better than Jordan - for about two weeks. And of course MJ hit the winning shot against Georgetown later that year in the national championship game.

By the time he entered the draft after his junior year, Jordan was coveted, but he was only the third pick in the 1984 draft behind centers Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie. The conventional wisdom then was that you take the big man, so that left Jordan for the Bulls at #3.

While Olajuwon became a brilliant, never to be seen again star, Jordan was the greatest player to come out of that draft obviously. When he got to the Bulls, that team was struggling and his competitive desire and brilliant offensive skills made him an immediate star. But the league was owned then by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and they weren’t interested in giving up control.

This video is from the first game between the Bulls and Lakers in Jordan’s rookie season. You see a lot of what made Jordan great, but he was a rookie on a bad team and the Lakers were great. You wonder what lessons Jordan was learning here, and you wonder what Johnson thought when he saw Jordan doing things that only a handful of players have ever been able to do.