Saturday , Apr , 26 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Great Playoff Moments, Day 7: Magic Johnson’s 42 Points, 15 Rebounds, 7 Assists On Philly & The Birth of L.A. Lakers’ Showtime

The nineteen eighties are forgettable. Bad movies, music, and fashion ruled the day. The NBA’s experience was different; a rivalry between two larger-than-life players transformed David Stern’s league from late-night laughingstock to prime time television …

Great Playoff Moments, Day 7: Magic Johnson's 42 Points, 15 Rebounds, 7 Assists On Philly & The Birth of L.A. Lakers' Showtime

The nineteen eighties are forgettable. Bad movies, music, and fashion ruled the day. The NBA’s experience was different; a rivalry between two larger-than-life players transformed David Stern’s league from late-night laughingstock to prime time television.

Those two players were Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Their play sold out arenas, polarized fans into Laker or Celtic fans, and made NBA basketball relevant.

The first sign of greatness came in June 1980. Magic’s Lakers were readying themselves for the sixth game of the NBA Finals against the dreaded Philadelphia 76ers. Word broke out that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the purple-and-gold’s star big-man, wouldn’t play due to injury.

Johnson, a hi-profile rookie who averaged 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists in his first season at point guard, replaced Jabbar at center. Instead of crumbling under pressure, Magic “enjoyed the experience” enough to tally 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists.

End result: Lakers win game six 123-107 and take the NBA Title. The left coast’s showtime era had begun and Magic would capture four more championships in the next ten years.

What do you think of Magic’s great performance? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe The Blog for more great playoff moments. Image courtesy of Thurd Eye of The Beholder.

Want more great playoff moments? Check out:

Great Playoff Moments, Day 1: Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and the L.A. Lakers Escape The ’Jail Blazers’ ’

-Great Playoff Moments, Day 2: Did Michael Jordan Foul or Receive A Superstar No Call Against Bryon Russell?

-Great Playoff Moments, Day 3: Vince Carter Didn’t "Always Try", So Toronto Says "VC Sucks"

-Great Playoff Moments, Day 4: Michael Jordan and Chicago Learn About Chicago’s Heart Like John Starks.

-Great Playoff Moments Day 5: Big-Shot Bob Saves Kobe, Shaq, L.A. Lakers, Kills Sacramento Kings

-Great Playoff Moments Day 6: How LeBron Went King James on Detroit