Magic Johnson once received a night he would never forget as a 19-year-old from none other than Laker’s owner Jerry Buss. Buss, the illustrious owner of the Lakers, invited the young Magic to a party at Playboy Mansion shortly after he agreed to a five-year, $2.3 million contract with a $175,000 signing bonus.
Magic and the Showtime Lakers
Magic Johnson’s legacy is largely shaped by his antics, both on and off the court. Many of them are a result of his experience with the Lakers. Johnson, one of the greatest players in game history, was recognized as a rare talent from the start. Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 draught class, and the Los Angeles Lakers, who were about to go on one of the greatest runs in history, would sign him.
The L.A. Lakers revolutionized basketball in the 1980s. The Showtime Lakers were created as the owner Jerry Buss’s vision of a team with a Hollywood flair came to fruition. The Lakers, a club founded on the principles of playing quick, scoring, and most importantly entertaining basketball, would win five rings during the Showtime period thanks to Johnson’s brilliant passing and Kareem’s incredible scoring. Johnson was introduced to the Los Angeles club scene by the owner, who embodied the team’s guiding principles.
No player in Lakers history was ever closer to Dr. Jerry Buss or his family as Magic Johnson. They entered the NBA at the same time in 1979. pic.twitter.com/66S0aQzV7y
Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 22, 2017
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A Night to Remember
Magic was unfamiliar with the quick pace of Los Angeles because he was raised in Lansing, Michigan. He later acknowledged that because it gave him a taste of the life of a superstar, he would never forget that night. Johnson recounted this night at Playboy Mansion as one of many that he and Buss would go out on in the book When the Game Was Ours. That evening, the adolescent Magic would phone his friends, eager to let them know where he was.
His interest was piqued by Magic’s taste in the star’s lifestyle. Years later, it also caused him to develop AIDS, the illness that would destroy his professional career. Magic has been extremely candid about that time period and his adjustment to it. Johnson’s induction into the Hall of Fame was guaranteed by the five championships the Lakers would win, but there may have been more. The night out with Jerry Buss would start a chain of events that would result in the life and legend that we now know as Magic Johnson.