Magic Johnson Almost Left The Lakers On Winning Time And In Real Life


For the very first 13 episodes of Winning Time‘s run, the Los Angeles Lakers we’ve seen up until now have actually remained in the embryonic phase of the dynasty that specified the ’80 s. In its most current episode, the Lakers lastly ended up being Magic Johnson‘s group. And all he needed to do was given up on them.

For those born prior to CDs ruled the Earth and basketball geeks, every Winning Time episode has actually been a start to these scrappy Lakers changing into the hyperspeed, world-beating Showtime Lakers. The theatrical fastbreaks and Johnson’s Spalding sorcery to zip a pass to a colleague without looking that specified the Lakers’ ’80 s dynasty has actually just been seen in spurts over the very first 2 seasons. Season 2 presented its greatest obstacle: coach Paul Westhead’s ( Jason Segel) “system.”

The chain of command of the Lakers has actually been fractured under the weight of Westhead’s ego and Johnson’s impatience. Westhead won a title in Season 1 with Pat Riely (Adrien Brody) while the 2 presumed the training obligations left by previous coach Jack McKinney (Tracy Letts), however it never ever seemed like it was his group. He was half of the head training core of a group formed by Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly), and McKinney was buoyed to champion heights by the increasing fame of novice Magic Johnson. That’s why the majority of his contributions to Season 2 up until now have actually been focused around him inscribing his identity onto this group. He shot down a David Thompson trade early in the season due to the fact that he wasn’t his option. He’s carried out a traditionalist technique to basketball, consisting of slowing the offense to Kareem Abdul-Jabar’s (Solomon Hughes) speed and executing a stagnantly book design of play called “The System.” Oh, and he’s fought with the star of the group.

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On the other hand, it hasn’t agreed with Westhead that Johnson has actually been asserting his worth by any ways this season. He challenged Abdul-Jabar to match the Showtime speed, returned too soon from an injury to not lose his location in the group, and leveraged his significance to the group to protect a 25- year agreement for $25 million from Dr. Buss. In the most recent episode, Johnson and Westhead’s acrimony struck a snapping point after Westhead sent out Johnson back to the locker space throughout a video game for not sticking to his need to sign up with the huddle. In a confined locker space with just sufficient light for them to see each other and insufficient area to not be face to face with one another, Westhead put down the pseudo-dictatorial hierarchy of the group, informing Johnson he and he alone chooses whether Johnson plays or sits.

Westhead let Johnson understand on the Lakers; he has no cards to play to defeat his training authority. Magic dropped his trump card, which practically altered the course of basketball permanently.

Did Magic Johnson Ask To Be Traded From The Los Angeles Lakers?

At the controversial end of the episode, Johnson informed a gaggle of press reporters he wasn’t delighted playing tough however not having a good time. At this minute, he efficiently informed the world he was preparing to inform Dr. Buss he wished to be traded. In reality, Johnson’s unscripted trade demand occurred on November 18, 1981, after a video game versus the Utah Jazz. While Winning Time‘s representation equals, there were little subtleties that loaded a punch.

On the program, he just states he needs to go as an outcome of him not having a good time playing. His real-life statements were covered with a bit more annoyed desperation. “I can’t play here any longer. I wish to leave. I wish to be traded. I can’t handle it no more. I’ve got to enter and ask [Buss] to trade me.” He exposed he had not mored than happy all season and stated Westhead was why he wished to leave the Lakers.

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At that point in his profession, he had actually just provided one champion to a group routing in champions 7 to 13 to Lakers’ competing Boston Celtics. What took place the really next day is probably the most crucial minute in the ’80 s Lakers dynasty and most likely the focal point of an approaching episode that totally alters the series permanently.

Headshot of Keith Nelson

Keith Nelson

Senior Editor

Keith Nelson is an author by fate and reporter by enthusiasm, who has actually linked dots to form the larger photo for Men’s Health, Vibe Magazine, LEVEL MAG, REVOLT TELEVISION, Complex,, Red Bull, Okayplayer, and Mic, among others.

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