We Reminisce: Magic Johnson Starts at Center, Destroys Sixers in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals

By now you may have seen the news that LeBron James might be starting at center tonight against the San Antonio Spurs. Before you start snorting about how Erik Spoelstra and the Heat are desperately grasping at straws to save their asses, take a step back for a second. Could this actually be a stroke of genius? Could this be a mind game move on the Phil Jackson level?

Spoelstra looks at his best player – who is struggling mightily – and he needs a boost. LeBron needs something to jump start him to propel him out of his funk. What’s the best path to that? Appeal to his heroes, to NBA history and to moments of greatness. Remember when LeBron declared that he’d rather be Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan? Well, here’s your chance buddy.

Check out the INSANE work that Magic put in against the Sixers as a 20-year old NBA rookie in Game 6 of his first NBA Finals. With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar back home in L.A. with a severely sprained ankle, Magic started the game at center for L.A. in Philly.

Legend has it that when the 6-foot-9 Magic Johnson lined up at center, Sixers center Caldwell Jones turned to Magic and said, “You gotta be joking, right?”

The joke was on Philly as Magic eviscerated the Sixers, lacing them for 42 points (14-14 from the free throw line), 15 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in a 123-107 W to clinch an NBA championship for the Lakers. Magic was named Finals MVP.

Watch a young, sleek Magic go to work:

Follow Patrick Cassidy on Twitter

Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook