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Sports Then and Now



30 Years Ago: Magic Johnson is the Center of Attention 10

Posted on May 16, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Magic Johnson led the Lakers to the first five titles in the 1980s 30 years ago.

Though he was already known as a glamorous player and NCAA Champion, Magic Johnson’s legacy as an NBA all-time great had its cornerstone in an NBA Finals game played 30 years ago today.

Leading the Philadelphia 76ers three games to two in the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers were still in a somewhat challenging position as the team headed to Philly without the services of their MVP center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had been injured in game five and stayed home in Los Angeles to nurse his injured ankle.

The 20-year-old Johnson took up the slack scoring 42 points with 15 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Lakers to to a dominating 123-107 victory.

After that victory, Johnson’s reputation as the leader of “Showtime” was secure and he went on to lead the Lakers to four additional titles during the decade.

Enjoy some of the great moments from the sixth game of the 1980 NBA Finals:

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

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