Magic Johnson made NBA Finals debut on this day in sports history

It didn’t take long for Magic Johnson to start building his NBA Finals legacy. 

Johnson’s Lakers reached the Finals in 1980, his rookie season—the first time Los Angeles had reached the championship round since 1972. On May 4, 1980, Johnson made his Finals debut against the 76ers and didn’t disappoint, coming up just one rebound shy of a triple double: He finished with 16 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in a 109–102 Lakers victory.  

The star of Game 1, though, was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The center, whom the Lakers had acquired five years earlier, scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a win. A few days later, with the series tied 2–2, Abdul-Jabbar’s 40 point sand 15 rebounds helped Los Angeles move within one win of the Finals. 

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