Michael Jordan was so ruthless with the “advice” he gave Magic Johnson way back in 1996.
After spending five years out of the league because of his HIV diagnosis, Magic Johnson got some hard-hitting advice from none other than Michael Jordan upon his return to the NBA in 1996.
When Johnson had to retire prematurely in 1991, his Los Angeles Lakers were still one of the better teams in the Western Conference. While Jordan’s Chicago Bulls were certainly on the come-up then, they became nothing short of dynastic over the course of the next half decade. Jordan’s 1996 Bulls are widely considered to be the greatest single-season team in NBA history.
While on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Johnson shared a story about that one time Jordan gave him some advice back in 1996. It is equally as “sick” as it is undeniable proof that Jordan will forever be the greatest and most ruthless competitor the NBA will ever see.
“Michael, after that game, he pulled me aside — I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody this,” said Johnson on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “He met me in between the locker rooms, and he said, ‘Earvin, you have to remember now, you’re not with Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], you’re not with James Worthy. All the guys you used to play with, Showtime, are not on that Laker team anymore. So remember, maybe you should think about retiring.”
Here is Johnson’s entire conversation with Kimmel helping promote his show on Apple TV.
Michael Jordan’s advice to Magic Johnson in 1996 is peak Michael Jordan
When the Lakers were Showtime, Johnson was at the peak of his powers running point, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in the twilight of his illustrious career playing center and James Worthy was arguably the greatest No. 3 option the league has ever seen out on the wing. Well, Adbul-Jabbar retired before Johnson did the first time in 1989. Worthy called it a career after the 1994 season.
Simply put, the Lakers were also-ran at that particular point in time. It would not be until that offseason before Los Angeles acquired Shaquille O’Neal. The Lakers also orchestrated a trade with the Charlotte Hornets for the rights to an 18-year-old shooting guard by the name of Kobe Bryant in exchange for Vlade Divac. Together, Bryant and O’Neal won three titles in a row from 2000-02.
Even though Jordan’s comment to Johnson was a tad harsh, that is just who he was. Jordan was exceptionally petty during his prime, making anyone and everyone who wasn’t 100 percent about the Chicago Bulls public enemy No. 1. While he and Johnson may be tight in the decades since they both called it a career, Jordan being this exceedingly blunt only adds to the legend of His Airness.
Jordan telling Johnson how it was ultimately led to Magic retiring from the NBA for a second time.