Despite being rivals on the court, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson have always shared a great bond of friendship.
The NBA is known for fierce rivalries and one such rivalry was between Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Both the legends were fiercely competitive and they gave their all when on court fighting to win a Championship. However off the court, the two were great friends and shared a very special bond.
In the turn of events in 1991, Lakers legend Magic Johnson had to retire immediately after he was diagnosed with HIV. The news came in like a shock especially at a time when HIV was considered very fatal. The news took everyone by surprise as even Jordan could not handle himself upon hearing the news.
But the Lakers legend was motivated to move ahead of his diagnosis as he returned to action at the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. He followed it up by winning the Gold for the United States at the Olympics that year. All this time he shared a great camaraderie with Michael Jordan.
The duo were the brains behind the fabled ‘Dream Team’ which went to Barcelona to win Gold after defeating Croatia in the finals. The focus was mostly on Johnson for all the wrong reasons but the American team remained focused.
The Lakers legend averaged 8.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 5.5 while Jordan ended up with 14.9 points and 4.8 assists per game to complete the Olympics triumph.
Michael Jordan was fully supportive of Magic Johnson full-time comeback four years after his HIV diagnosis
In 1996 four years after his diagnosis, Johnson decided to make a full time comeback to the NBA. Johnson who was 36 by then had the motivation to run the floor again and so he joined the Lakers.
It looked like Magic Johnson has taken a leaf out of Jordan’s career as he himself came back from retirement. So when MJ was asked about his friend’s return to the NBA, he was pretty supportive of the whole issue.
“I want what’s best for him. If he feels he’s ready and he can deal with some of the adversity he’s going to have to deal with, then I support him.”
MJ also felt that the Lakers point guard would help raise awareness regarding HIV while hooping. The Hall of Famer averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.9 assists in 32 games and nine starts for the Lakers in his comeback season.
Even at this point, the duo shares the same level of love and respect for each other like they shared during their playing days.