DAR Sports: The 5 Greatest Magic Johnson Seasons

By @TrueGodImmortal

There are few players in the game of basketball as skilled and gifted as Magic Johnson. While NBA Twitter and the many uninformed fans make crazy declarations like CP3 and Steph over Magic, the truth is, Magic is a top 5 player of all time. In addition to being top 5 of all time, Magic is easily the greatest point guard of all time and one of the most exciting players to watch. The 1980s have been seen as the toughest decade in basketball, and while I think the 80's and 90's were equally the toughest, Magic being so dominant in these seasons speaks to the ability that he possessed as a player and a leader. With 9 NBA Finals trips in 12 seasons and 5 championships alongside 3 Finals MVPs and 3 NBA MVPs, Magic is one of the most decorated and accomplished athletes in NBA history. Today, we rank the 5 greatest Magic seasons. Which seasons make the list and which seasons miss the list? Let's get into it.

5. 1987-1988
(19.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 11.9 APG, NBA Champion, All-Star, All-NBA)

-I could probably put another season in the fifth spot. I'm sure I could. However, this season makes it solely for the fact that Magic and the Lakers went back to back and he had a really good year overall. However, the Lakers weren't as crisp that year in the playoffs and you could see the toll all those seasons of success began to take on them. This was essentially the last season of dominance as a team, but was the second or third year of Magic being in his prime for sure. Magic was honestly in the running to be the MVP yet again, but no one could top what Michael Jordan did this year. It was virtually impossible to crown anyone MVP over Jordan that year. It just wasn't going to happen. Regardless, Magic had a wonderful year overall, and was an essential piece in the 7 game series win over the Pistons in the Finals. James Worthy won Finals MVP, but Magic really deserved it over him with averages of 21.1 PPG, 13.0 APG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.0 SPG on 55% FG, 34% 3PT, and 87% FT, as he led the team in minutes, assists, and steals and wasn't too far off from leading in points as well. James Worthy had a claim to it and he was Big Game James in the series, but Magic was the engine and the most important player in that series. Still, this season is special and represents the final ring for the Showtime Lakers.

4. 1989-1990
(22.3 PPG, 11.5 APG, NBA MVP, All-Star, All-Star MVP, All-NBA)

-Another year, another MVP. Back to back MVPs are pretty hard to ignore, and to be one of the very few men to pull that off is one of the most amazing things about Magic in his career. Sure, in his earlier years, he was just as potent and still great, but his game hadn't fully become polished yet like it did in the late 80's. That was the true prime of Magic and if the Lakers never had some minor injury issues at times, I fully believe that they would have won more titles. Still, it is tough to continue to win over and over again, and the Lakers were on the heels of three straight Finals appearances, which would come to an end this season. Still, Magic was magnificent in the regular season, leading the Lakers to yet another 60 win season, going 63-19, putting up some of the best numbers of his career and still playing at the top pf his game. If Magic could have completed the objective and at least made the NBA Finals or won a title, this season would have trumped the 1988-1989 year. His numbers all around were on par and Magic just seemed refreshed and focused even after all of the success. This season is truly amazing.

3. 1988-1989
(22.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 12.8 APG,   NBA MVP, NBA Finals Appearance, All-Star, All-NBA)

-What a year for Magic. That 1986-1990 period for him was special and his true peak, and this season was one of his best. He nearly averaged a triple double and there aren't many players in today's game that can pull off averaging 23/8/13 in a season, so imagine how hard it was in the toughest era of basketball. Those numbers are outrageous, and when you consider the team success of the Lakers that season as well, Magic was at his best as a leader. His shooting numbers were solid, going for 51/32/91 on the season, but the Lakers missed another 60 win season, finishing 57-25 as the no. 1 seed, but they got to the Finals and were swept by the Pistons, who they beat the year prior. Still, aside from that, Magic had an excellent year and while I could have placed one of the years he won a title on this list in place of these seasons, they are so amazing that they belong here.

2. 1984-1985
(18.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 12.6 APG, NBA Champion, All-Star, All-NBA) 

-I chose this season because Magic redeemed himself from the year prior after a bad performance against the Celtics in the Finals in 1984. With Magic as the leader of this team, the Showtime Lakers would be in great position, and post an excellent 62-20 record. In addition to a successful 60 win season, the Lakers would breeze through the playoffs led by Magic and Kareem. This would result in the Lakers getting back to championship glory and restoring the winning feeling they captured in 1980 and 1982. The Lakers would make quick work of the Suns, the Blazers, and the Nuggets, while defeating the Celtics in 6 games to win their third title of the decade. Magic didn't get Finals MVP, but one could argue he was the most important player on the floor, putting up averages of 18.3 PPG, 14.0 APG, and 6.8 RPG alongside 2.2 SPG on 50% FG, 50% 3PT, and 87% FT. Magic would be the vital piece and the MVP of this Lakers team IMO as he was the engine that pushed it to the championship.

1. 1986-1987
(23.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 12.2 APG, 52% FG, Assists Leader, NBA Champion, MVP, NBA Finals MVP, All-Star, All-NBA)

-If anyone tells you that there is a Magic season better than this one, don't listen to them. This is Magic's best season by far and it's not even close really. Magic was in rare form this year, attacking baskets with an aggression, making all the right passes, and earning his way to his first MVP award that was long overdue in reality. Magic would then take his team to an amazing 65 win season, the no. 1 seed in the West, and put up some of the greatest numbers of his career. He was efficient, passing the ball perfectly, and anyone would could put up 24/6/12 and lead the league in assists while winning MVP, a NBA Title, and Finals MVP has accomplished something not many can do. This is one of the greatest seasons of all time, so without question it is the best Magic season by far.



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