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“If I had went to the Bulls there would be no Michael Jordan in Chicago" — Magic Johnson on almost playing for the Bulls

A coin flip in 1979 draft determined the fate of Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Magic Ervin Johnson and Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson playing for any team other than the Los Angeles Lakers seems weird, but it almost happened as he revealed he could have gone to the Chicago Bulls during draft night.

“There would be no Michael Jordan in Chicago”

Magic Johnson was drafted number one overall by the L.A. Lakers in the 1979 draft. The rest, as they say, is history. He became a legend in the Lakers uniform, playing alongside many all-time greats and winning multiple championships as a member of the Showtime Lakers. But it would have been a different story if the result of a coin flip was different. The Lakers won the coin flip and were granted the number one pick. The Bulls had the second and drafted Dave Greenwood.

Speaking on the Jimmy Kimmel show, Magic shared things would have been different for him and the Lakers but also for the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan had he gone on to play for Chicago.

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Jimmy Kimmel: “I was thinking about this today about how close you came to being drafted by the Chicago Bulls and how the whole, not just the Lakers and your career, everything would have changed if that had happened.

Magic Johnson:Jimmy, no question about it, can you believe that if I had went to the Bulls there would be no Michael Jordan in Chicago.

Magic added that it went okay with how their careers turned out. He played with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and became a Hall of Famer himself, while MJ became the GOAT among basketball fans.

What if Magic played for the Bulls?

If Magic had played for the Bulls, he would have enjoyed the same success. Players like him are franchise changers who come once in a blue moon. The same can be said for Michael Jordan. If he played somewhere else, he would have enjoyed some level of success nonetheless.

Knowing the fate of franchises before depended on the result of a coin flip is weird. Could the Bulls have won several championships with Magic leading them? It’s possible. But there are so many factors that contribute to winning a title—chemistry of players, luck, coaches, and individual brilliance. 

Jordan probably had to thank fate for favoring Magic playing for the Lakers. Could you imagine MJ doing MJ things as part of the Sacramento Kings or Memphis Grizzlies? We couldn’t either. 

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