When Magic Johnson Gave Birth To A Unique Record 38 Years Ago

Published 06/09/2020, 10:30 AM EDT


 When you talk about the Los Angeles Lakers of the 80s, there are two prominent names that pop up. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson. The former joined the team in 1975 while the latter became a Laker four years later. Magic is one of the most revered players in the NBA and the tallest point guard in league history. 

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At 6-foot-nine, Magic had everything in his bag. He dominated the 80s along with his ‘Showtime’ Lakers team. The decade saw an intense rivalry emerge between Magic and Larry Bird. Magic won five championships in the 80s, while Bird won three.

Most importantly, their versatility left everyone stunned. There are also claims that the word “triple-double” was coined after learning that players like these two could almost do everything on the court. Magic still reigns on top of the list as the player with the most triple-doubles in post-season history, with 30. Such was his impact on the court. Moreover, one of his most memorable triple-doubles came in Game 6 of the 1982 NBA Finals which is also a different record.

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When Magic Johnson gave birth to a unique record 38 years ago

Big players step up during crunch situations. The expanding pressure gets into one’s head and ignites their mind to play better. Magic was that kind of a player. You could see him throwing all sorts of passes on the court. Even his teammates wouldn’t expect some of them to land into their hands. 

On June 8, 1982, the Los Angeles Lakers headed into Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers. Dr.J was with the 76ers, who was one of Magic’s favorites. However, he never budged to his opponents. The Lakers won the game 114-104, and Magic Johnson was crowned the Finals MVP for his spectacular consistency throughout the series. 

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In addition to it, Magic’s performance on the night gave birth to one of the most spectacular records in the NBA. He put up a game-clinching finals triple-double, which is a rare feat. Winning the finals with a triple-double is a holy record in basketball. The number thirteen is generally considered to be unlucky in several parts of the world. However, on the night of the finals, 13 became Magic’s lucky number. He racked up 13 points, rebounds, and assists, which showcased his incredible ability to deliver under pressure. 

📅 On this day in 1982, 13 was Magic Johnson’s lucky number (13p/13r/13a) as his Lakers beat the Sixers 114-104 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

Johnson became the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double in a Finals-clinching win. It’s been done eight more times since. pic.twitter.com/YmUPhELERV

— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) June 8, 2020

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Ever since the inception of the record, only five other players have been able to achieve it in NBA history. Johnson of course achieved the same in the 1985 Finals against the Celtics. Apart from him, Larry Bird (1986), James Worthy (1998), Tim Duncan (2003), LeBron James (2012 and 2016), and Draymond Green (2015) are the other athletes who rank in this coveted list.

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Arjun Athreya

1719 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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