Saturday Morning Video: Magic Johnson’s High School Championship Game

Darius Soriano —  March 16, 2013

(thanks to Jeff Pearlman and Bandwagon Knick for the video)

Wow. The power of youtube brings us Magic Johnson (and his fantastic afro) in his high school championship game, dominating the action just as he did at Michigan State and later with the Lakers. His talent is on full display in the clip above — his ability to finish inside, hit his little jumper, and, of course, his fantastic floor vision.

The clip above also shows a great game unfold with some uncanny shotmaking, including a shot from the team Magic is facing that if I (or one of my teammates) would have made in a high school game would have been celebrated with the same jubilation. Looked like a pretty amazing game.

In any event, enjoy the video. As you can see, Magic was always a one of a kind player with a unique set of skills. He truly looked like a man amongst boys on some of those plays.

Darius Soriano

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25 responses to Saturday Morning Video: Magic Johnson’s High School Championship Game

  1. Wow, thanks for posting the video. Pretty sure I saw Magic play every position at some point. Really love the bounce passes, makes you think he had that vision from day one. My favorite part was the post game interview. Proud to say that I saw his career unfold and that the young man in the video ended up changing the world in many different ways. One of a kind.

  2. Fantastic treat to start my Saturday. Thanks a million, Darius.

  3. Awesome video of one of my favorite players ever. Thanks!

  4. He looked nothing like a high schooler. Way too skilled.

  5. Per usual… True hoop is spot on… This time it’s Ethan Sherwood’s turn:

  6. Corrections by me to make the article 100 percent perfect…

    Pau Gasol has been average this season. So yes… If that Pau Gasol comes back down the stretch the Lakers won’t be any better. But if Pau’s knees are now sound, his foot is now 100 percent and he is the borderline all star he was last year again, the Lakers will be a different team. Why will they be a different team? Because Dwight Howard is now a difference maker again. No he isn’t what he was before back surgery… But he is now having a big impact on both sides of the ball again. That’s how good he was. Even at 80 percent he is a top ten NBA player. If Dwight gets up to 85 percent and Pau is roughly the All Star reserve he was last season the Lakers will have a date to lose to the Miami Heat come June.

  7. Aaron,
    I’ve told you countless times, please do no copy and paste full articles into the comments. Especially those behind a paywall of *any* site.

  8. “DH is a top ten player even at 80%”: Agreed and have been saying so. I believe he will be top 5 in fact (1st Team All NBA). So yes – we were correct to obtain him, and will be correct to keep him. Would you not agree Dr. Aaron? : ) And I do not mean that in a bad way, because you were the only one correctly cautious with regard to the back. As to the many who said we should eject DH just a few weeks ago, we have all forgiven you : ) You are allowed to root for him as if he is our next franchise player – which he is.

  9. Great video, surprised the game was so close with magic scoring so effortlessly (or assisting).

  10. Darius and Aaron,

    That article mirrors a lot of articles recently written by the analytics guys at ESPN, the thesis being the margin of victory has not budged this whole time. RR is saying something similar.

    For myself, I am a big fan of point differential so I don’t take this lightly. I guess my analysis is that there are extenuating circumstances, but real analytics guys will say with enough data, that should be “discountable”. I say take as an example a team like Chicago. They are 15th in the league rankings based on Hollinger’s system, but we all accept that with Rose back they become around a top 5 team..My take is that the cumulative injuries, the timing and nature of the injuries coming to similar roster spots, and the issues of establishing chemistry with such a huge disparity of styles and bringing together many different guys and a coach who succeeded under such different circumstances, that what the Lakers have been dealing with is equivalent to a Rose type of injury. And that over the next few weeks, we have a chance to see the team in its full bloom.

    Time will tell which approach most resembles the truth.

  11. Hands down my all time favorite basketball player. Earvin played the game with enthusiasm, competitiveness and as a team player.

  12. Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. My childhood Sports Idol (along with ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard). The Greatest Point Guard to ever play the game. He’s the reason why, after being selected with the #1 pick in the ’79 Draft, I became a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. His Leadership, Charisma and as Chearn alluded to, Team First Mentality, played a major part in making the Lakers, arguably, the Greatest Franchise in all of Sports. People always state that “there will never be another Michael Jordan.” Probably not. What they also fail to mention is that there will never be another Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson .. Real Talk

  13. oh yeah, btw, 1977 is the year i was born, so this clip is only a few months younger than me…

  14. That was an amazing game by Earvin Johnson. I followed it by looking at a Laker game against the Bulls during Jordan’s rookie year. The ball movement and skill of all the Lakers was on full display. The Lakers played solid individual defense and as a team completely took Jordan out of the game in the second half. What I forgot about Magic was his ability to get up in the air when needed. I keep remembering Magic in his later years when he was more earthbound.

  15. After that, Magic went to Michigan State and beat the hell out of my IU Hoosiers every time they met. IU’s best player at that time was Mike Woodson, who is the coach of Knicks right now. I vaguely remembered in those games Magic kept passing the ball near the basket and one of his teammates would grab it from the air and stuff it into the basket in one motion. It is like men against boys. There is zero fun if you are rooting for their opponent such as IU.

  16. Way to ruin my night before my poker game Harold. Born in 1977 ! I already had one failed marriage, made a ton of money. Lost a ton of money. Grew and got rid of several mustaches and already had a bad back.


  17. Re “luck” from other thread:

    I didn’t read the ESS piece, but the basic problem with a “luck” argument is that looking at W/L and point differential, which is the usual stathead approach to “luck” narratives, all that has really happened is that the Lakers’ luck has evened out. They had a positive point diff when they were 17-25. The Lakers are 35-32 and as per Bask Ref their expected W/L is 36-31. At the same time, Utah and GS have been evening out the other way.

    I also think that Blake’s return and putting Clark in the rotation have helped. Clark is very limited, but he fits well and adds a little athleticism. Blake isn’t anything special, but he is better than Duhon and Morris, and is capable of having good games at times, as he did last night.


    So, if ESS is saying that the Lakers are not a top-tier contender, my answer is “Thank you, Captain Obvious.” If he is saying that the Lakers are lucky to be 35-32, then, no that’s not right.

    I think you can make an argument that if the Lakers get in with the 8 guys they are playing now + Pau all healthy, they would be dangerous in a seven-game series, particularly with no back-to-backs. But there is a huge gap between “dangerous” and winning three straight series without HCA against some combo of SA, MEM, LAC, DEN, and OKC.

  18. rr, that is certainly correct. it’s still too early to give up, though. there’s no penalty if the team keeps trying to improve or for continuing to hold out hope. there’s no benefit for being correct and being able to say “i told you so” unless it’s in victory. even then it’s just momentary satisfaction.

    i’m enjoying this season, not the losing, but the chance to grab the ring. if this year fails, i won’t like it, but then another season will begin. first Kobe and Pau need to get reasonably healthy, then the team can have it’s chance to break a few hearts and make smart people look dumb.

    for Lakers fans, a team victory beats personal gains(even being right about things). we’ll see if the team feels the same as the fans. if so, everyone will gain personally through the team victory. this team can easily beat any other team in the league, if healthy, and if they play to their strengths. even San Antonio, OKC and Miami can’t claim any better.

  19. Ken, for what it’s worth: I have yet to make a ton of money, so you’re way ahead(oops) of the game here.

    Anyway, I’m no spring chicken either considering how Kobe is considered “old.”

    … maybe I should just stick to wishing you good luck in poker.

  20. The very first time I watch the Lakers back in 1985, they won the game of course. I had no idea who is Magic, or Worthy, or Coop….. But I remember Magic being much taller than opposing guards, and I thought to myself, why aren’t other teams sticking in a tall guy to dribble the ball? The taller guy who dribbles the ball can just shoot over the shorter guy, or make easy pass, because the long arms are harder to defend. 30 years just blew by, and I still have not seen another “tall guy” who can dribble, shoot and pass. I guess I won’t see another 6-9 guard who can dribble, shoot, and pass like Magic in another 30 years.

  21. @rr, When do you suppose we’ll see ESPN’s statheads release a follow-up article, about how the Heat are lucky to have the league’s best record? I’m sure it’s forthcoming … oh wait, I see the latest Truehoop post is “Heat crazy in crunch time”. How interesting; I wonder why the Lakers are “lucky” and the Heat are “clutch”. I’m sure there must be an objective reason, as of course those guys are just looking at the numbers, it’s not like they’re pushing an agenda or anything.

  22. Point differential tells the story of what was and NOT what is going to be. Unless of course strength of schedule, health, player movement, and talent all stay exactly the same. But of course things evolve. Dwayne Wade goes from nice player to superstar again and the Heat go from a very good team to an unstoppable juggernaut. If Pau Gasol goes from average bench player to very good starter and Dwight Howard goes from nice starter to dominant Center the Lakers go from borderline playoff team to second best team in the world.

    Re: Heat Crunchtime Numbers
    All the praise they are getting is not about winning close games. Close games can go either way. It’s their offensive and defensive effeciency down the stretch of games. Their core players PERs in those sittuations. They have been very consistent and outside the realm of luck. Lebron has had like a PER of 50 in those sittuations. Crazy.

  23. Dwayne Wade goes from nice player to superstar again and the Heat go from a very good team to an unstoppable juggernaut.

    That has obviously helped, but Miami is 23-1 since the Andersen signing.

    As to the Lakers making a big Finals run if Pau comes back strong, that is highly unlikely. Speaking of Pau, he has had a “setback” according to ESPN. Very possible that neither Pau nore Kobe will play tonight.

  24. I’ll give him this: Lebron certainly does has a remarkable dominance in stats cherry-picked post hoc to make him look good.

  25. There is a discussion in this thread that is quite interesting, though I have to admit that I don’t know exactly what it is about. Here is my random useless thoughts about it just to kill some time while waiting for the NCAA Tournament announcement at 12pm:

    When a team is compiled, there seems to be 4 possibilities: 1. They fit nicely and win a lot from the start (Magic’s Lakers, Bird’s Celtics). 2. They fit nicely but didn’t win much in the beginning (Jordan’s Bulls, Lebron/Wade/Bosh’s Heats). 3. They do not fit but win a few in the beginning. 4. They do not fit and lost a lot from the start (2012-2013 Lakers).

    The 4th scenario is obviously the worst. And that’s what this Lakers team seems to be. There seems to be some innate weakness in the lineup, be it speed, age, bench, mentality, style, whatever. Normally it is better to change the roster to improve the fit in the future. Though it is conceivably (and remotely) possible that a bad fit can suddenly turn into a good fit. In the mean time, some out-of-the-world will power (such as what Kobe has demonstrated) could defy all odds and makes some fun. It doesn’t hurt to try this year — after all, we are talking about 200 mils investment.