Magic Johnson’s glorious career with the Los Angeles Lakers is one too gilded. With five NBA titles to his name, Johnson is one of the greatest point guards the NBA has ever seen.
Drafted in 1979, Earvin Jr had one terrific debut season. Clinching the Championship in his very first season, Magic Johnson won the Finals MVP in his first-ever Finals appearance. The legendary point guard then went on to win four more Championships with the Lakers.
Johnson’s glorious run with the Los Angeles Lakers during their Showtime Era will go down in history as one of their best. So exactly how many Finals appearances has Magic Johnson made?
Related: Shaquille O’Neal’s finals appearances: How many NBA Finals has the legend been to?
How many times did Magic Johnson go to the finals?
It is almost incredible that Johnson made a stellar nine Finals appearances during his 13-season stint in the NBA. Out of those nine Finals that he went to, the legend came out with five Championship titles for his team. His legendary partnership with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar saw the duo lift five titles during the Lakers’ Showtime Era.
When was Magic Johnson’s first finals appearance?
Johnson’s first-ever finals appearance came in his debut season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980. Earvin Jr put up a dazzling performance in their series-clinching game as the Lakers beat Philadelphia 76ers 4-2.
What teams did Magic Johnson lose to in the NBA Finals?
Magic Johnson lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1983 Finals, the Boston Celtics in 1984, the Detroit Pistons in 1989 and to the Chicago Bulls in the 1991 Finals. Nevertheless, the legend ended up clinching five stellar championships with the Lakers during his gilded career.
Magic Johnson NBA finals appearances
It is almost incredible that Magic Johnson led the Los Angeles Lakers to nine NBA finals in his 13 seasons in the NBA. The fact that Johnson won three Finals MVPs while playing with legends of Karim Abdul-Jabbar’s calibre, is a testament to Earvin Jr’s irrefutable greatness.
1980: Rookie season, First Championship & Finals MVP
Magic Johnson’s first Finals appearance came in his very first season in the NBA. He averaged 21.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 8.7 assists in six games and was named Finals MVP. Johnson’s dazzling display in their last game vs the Philadelphia 76ers is considered one of the greatest NBA finals performances.
1982: Second Championship & Finals MVP
Johnson made his second Finals appearance in just his third season with the Lakers. Averaging 16.2 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.0 assists in 6 games of the Finals series, he helped Lakers clinch the championship beating
1983: First Finals Defeat
Johnson’s third finals appearance vs the Philadelphia 76ers did not go well as his previous two. The Lakers crumbled to an appalling 0-4 defeat in spite of Johnson averaging 19.0 points, 12.5 assists and 7.8 rebounds in those 4 games.
1984: Heartbreak vs the Celtics
In his third consecutive finals appearance since 1982, Johnson suffered a heart-wrenching defeat at the hands of Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics. In a series that went on till Game seven, the Lakers lost by a narrow margin in the last game. Johnson averaged 18.0 points, 13.6 assists and 7.7 rebounds in those seven games.
1985: A Title Avenged
In a most poetic turn of events, the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Boston Celtics again in the NBA finals the following year. This time, however, Johnson averaged 14 assists, 18.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in the six games, as the Lakers beat Celtics 4-2 and lifted the title.
1987: Fourth Championship Title, Another Finals MVP
As if to average their ’84 Finals loss in style, the Lakers faced the Boston Celtics yet again in the 1987 Finals. Johnson averaged 26.2 points, 13.0 assists and 8.0 rebounds in the six games series as the Lakers won 4-2 again. Magic Johnson’s iconic baby sky hook in Game 4, became an all-time highlight of his career and he was named Finals MVP.
1988: Back-to-back titles, Fifth Championship
In the 1988 Finals, Lakers faced the Detroit Pistons where they won 4-3 in tight seven games. Johnson played an instrumental part in their title-clinching victory and averaged 21.1 points, 13.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds in the seven-game series.
1989: Defeat at the Hands of the Pistons
The following season, the Lakers made it to the Finals again vs the Detroit Pistons. However, this time it went into a total fiasco as the Pistons swept over Lakers 4-0 in the Finals series. Johnson averaged 11.7 points, 8.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds in spite of going down with a hamstring injury in Game 2.
1991: Last NBA Finals
The Los Angeles Lakers made it to their ninth NBA finals with Magic Johnson where they were set to face Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. In spite of two triple-doubles from Johnson and an average of 18.6 points, 12.4 assists and 8.0 rebounds in 5 games, the Bulls won the series 4-1.
With a glimmering NBA career, Magic Johnson remains one of the most beloved sports personalities in the world. To fans of the sport, Johnson will forever be a motivation for overcoming all challenges that life throws in the way. Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson – the champion who loved to live to the fullest with a dazzling smile on his face.
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