Back in 1981, Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to an absurd 25-year, $25 million contract starting from 1984 and expiring in 2009.
Long before the league was being dominated by the likes of LeBron James or Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan, it was Magic Johnson, alongside his nemesis Larry Bird, running the show in the 1980s. The Los Angeles Lakers legend played a huge role in revolutionizing the league, and how it was perceived on a global level.
On the court, Magic was one of the greatest basketball minds we’ve ever witnessed in the league. Whether it was finding open teammates with accurate passes, or taking on the scoring responsibility on himself, Johnson successfully did it all. And without a doubt, created one of the most decorated resumes in NBA history.
Over the span of 13 seasons, Earvin recorded 17,707 points, 10,141 assists, 138 triple-doubles, was selected to 12 All-Star Games, 10 All-NBA teams, won 3 MVPs, 5 titles, and 3 Finals MVPs.
Apart from having one of the most illustrious resumes in history, Johnson is even known for signing one of the most absurd contracts of all time.
Back in 1981, Johnson signed one of the most bizarre contracts we’ve ever seen. Starting from 1984, the Lakers agreed to pay him $1 million per year… for 25 years!
In 1984, Lakers owner Jerry Buss signed Magic Johnson to a 25-year contract for $1 million a year. The contract ran through the year 2009. It was at that time the richest & longest in sports. Don’t be mad at Scottie Pippen, even one of the greatest businessman ever had a bad deal pic.twitter.com/1exptu2k1b
— Tim Doyle (@TimDoyle00) April 21, 2020
This contract made sure Magic Johnson was a Laker for life!
Not having seen so much money in his entire life, Johnson immediately signed the contract, without even knowing his real worth.
While many NBA players at the time were in shock when heard the details about the contract, Johnson eventually figured he was been slightly underpaid, compared to other stars like Moses Malone, Larry Bird, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“I have to be paid what the other top players are being paid,” said Johnson.
“If I’m paid like they are, I’ll be happy and everything will be fine. I don’t want to renegotiate now; all I want to do is win the championship. But I do want to be paid what I think I deserve.”
However, today, when he talks about the blockbuster signing, Magic reveals his mentality while signing the contract. On a recent appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, he said:
“It was great because, you know, I grew up poor my whole life. So to get a million dollars a year was outstanding but it changed the dynamic of the team. They thought that now, I was part of management instead of being just a Laker player.”
According to Jeanie Buss, this was the “most satisfying deal” of Jerry Buss’ life.
“It was the most satisfying deal my dad ever made because he knew what the value of Magic was to this team. It ensured that the greatest player of his generation would be forever tied to this franchise, and here we are today.”
To be fair, the Lakers’ gambles really paid off. Even years after his retirement, Johnson served in the purple & gold’s front office as an integral part of the management.