It Happened This Week in L.A. History: Lakers Commemorate the Power of Magic


February 16, 1992

Los Angeles Lakers retire Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s #32 uniform to honor the point guard’s legacy as of one of the greatest players in NBA history.

Before the Lakers had Kobe Bryant or Phil Jackson—or even the Staples Center—the Lakers had Magic. In 1979, they drafted the 6’9 point guard—the league’s number one draft pick that year. Johnson began paving his way to NBA stardom early in his career. He was named NBA Finals MVP and helped lead the Lakers to win their 7th championship, the first of five championships he would help the Lakers win, all in his rookie year.

Johnson’s stunning career as a player came to a halt in November 1991 after he announced that he had contracted the HIV virus. He later made a comeback with a powerful performance in the 1992 All-Star game that earned him the All-Star MVP honor. Johnson retired a second time, but returned at age 36 to don purple and gold for the 1995-96 season before retiring one last time.

As a NBA hall of famer, a three-time MVP recipient and five-time NBA champion, Johnson remains of one the most decorated players in NBA history. Now 53, the beloved Laker point guard has not slowed down. Since retirement he has added entrepreneur and activist to his resume, and continues to shape the world of sports as a broadcaster, baseball owner, and motivational speaker.

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