Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan were rivals in the 90s.
The two Naismith Hall of Famers did go head to head in the 1991 NBA Finals.
During a discussion at McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Event in Chicago, Illinois during NBA All Star Weekend, Magic Johnson jokingly told the audiece that he hated Michael Jordan for defeating the Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals.
Johnson detailed a moment during that series that really made him left him in awe.
Marv Albert detailed it better: it was a “spectacular move” by Jordan.
For those keeping score at home: In the fourth quarter of their game against the Lakers, Michael Jordan sensed Sam Perkins could block his dunk attempt in semi-transition. Instead of dunking it, Jordan switched the basketball from his right hand to his left hand in mid-air and kissed a left-handed layup off the backboard and in.
“So this dude 23 [Michael Jordan], still hate him now,” recounted Magic Johnson.
“He takes off on the right side, we thought we had him so we all jumped, but we forgot that he could hang in the air longer than us. So when he went up his tongue was out, he looked down as we went down and decided at the same time to switch the ball to the left hand, the tongue went to the left side too then spun it against the glass and thru. I looked at Michael Cooper and said so we asked him to do it again? Greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my life. So when I think about the greatest loss, you know losing to Michael [Jordan] and the [Chicago] Bulls then the other one was when we lost to the [Boston] Celtics because I really hated them.”
Jordan finished Game 2 of the NBA Finals with a near-triple double: 33 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.
Jordan’s Bulls did defeat Johnson’s Lakers in five games and MJ won his first of six NBA Finals rings for the city of Chicago with the likes of head coach, Phil Jackson and team with teammates Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, BJ Armstrong, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc and others.
Magic Johnson finished his NBA career with five NBA Championships.
In 1992, Jordan and Johnson would later become teammates during the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona Spain playing for USA Basketball’s Dream Team.
Other notables on that team would include John Stockton, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler and Chris Mullin.