“He’s the greatest to me. Everyone says Michael Jordan changed the game. Magic Johnson is the one who changed the game!”
Michael “Air” Jordan (59) in Earvin “Magic” Johnson (62).
This Friday is the world premiere of the new documentary about the life of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball legend. “They Call Me Magic” runs on Apple TV+ (EUR 4.99 per month, new customers can sign up for a seven-day trial subscription). SPORT BILD has seen the series in advance and reveals the secrets of the four-part Magic documentary.
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where does his nickname come from
Sports journalist Fred Stabley Jr. sees 15-year-old Johnson in Michigan with 36 points, 20 rebounds, 15 assists, 10 steals: “It was the best game I’ve ever seen anyone play. And this was only his second game in high school.”
Johnson remembers: “He came up to me and said, ‘I’ve never seen anything like it. We need to give him a nickname. Big E? dr S? I call you ‘Magic’! I said, ‘My friends will never call me that’.” Stabley: “Two months later, everyone in Michigan knew who Magic was.”
Your biggest defeat and your biggest victory
In 1984, Johnson and the Lakers lost the NBA Finals to Larry Bird (65) and the Boston Celtics in Game 7. “I’m still mad about today’s game. It cost us the title. My darkest moment as a basketball player.”
Johnson received the nickname “Tragic Magic”. It really hurt him – and spurred him on! In 1985, the two teams faced each other again in the final. Before heading off for Game 6 in Boston, Magic tells his teammates, “Just bring a suit. There will not be a 7th game.” He was right, the Lakers won 111-100 – the third of five titles in his career.
When Michael Jordan cried in your arms
In 1991, the Bulls beat the Lakers 4-1 with Jordan in the NBA Finals. Jordan remembers: “He came to my dressing room and gave me the biggest hug ever.” Magic: “He cried during the hug. It was a beautiful moment – for both of us.”
Jordan: “It was like he welcomed me to the club of champions, the club of Magic and Larry Bird. It showed that he is a true champion.”
How he brought Jordan and Bird to the 1992 Dream Team
Despite his illness with the HIV virus, Johnson is due to attend the Olympic Games in Barcelona. Magic: “I called Larry Bird, who wouldn’t come. I said, man, LB, this is our last hurray! His back was broken. I said: All you have to do is stand in the corner and play threes. I always give you the ball! He said: I will do it with my eyes closed.” Bird appeared – Jordan initially declined.
Magic: “Michael wanted to focus on the Bulls. I said, ‘Look man, it’s on my wish list for the life that I want to play with you and Larry again. Let’s have fun!’ In the end, he said yes.” Together they won gold and wrote the history of the sport.
The documentary also reveals:
- How Magic defeated the HIV virus.
- How he made amends in a gang war over breakfast.
- His sexual confession: “I had sex with six women at the same time!”
SPORT BILD Verdict: The documentary is magical! It even outperforms the super documentary “The Last Dance” about Michael Jordan, which is mostly due to sensational cameos – from Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, among others.
The USA Insider! Nils Suling lives in the US and looks at the issues America is talking about. All about football, basketball, ice hockey, baseball, football, martial arts. Follow US source on Twitter: @NilsSuling