Wednesday, 3 July 2013

THE MAGIC SERIES-NOW YOU SEE ME

The Incredible Earvin Johnson.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY.

"First rule of magic...always be the smartest guy in the room."

Ladies and gentleman, don't be alarmed. What you are about to witness tonight is magic like no other. We will transport you in your seats back to the purple and golden era of the 1980's. It's showtime people and our man with the top hat and wand is going to light up the basketball world like California mornings with just a flick of his wrist. Look closely...now you see him.

Now you don't...like a flash upcourt he runs, a Point Guard in a big-mans (who occasionally takes the cap's chair) body, the centre of attention. A man built like a quarterback and one who delivers the ball in the same way. Shoot first, think later...nah, pass first, see the game before. Watch him race upcourt look one way (normally at you) and throw the peach in the opposite direction (usually to the guy you where too busy not watching). Slight of hand has never felt so grand. The magician who could make the ace in the hole play would rather show you his full deck and still win by his hand. Watch him now as he affects the game on the grandest scale without even needing to take a single shot. Talk about pulling a rabbit out the hat.

Watch him change the game with a blonde haired white kid from way downtown in French Lick. Watch him take this sport of basketball across the borders of the world and cultural divides. Before LeBron, before Kobe. Even before the greatest of all time Michael Jordan, there was another M.J., defining this league and his G.O.A.T. legacy of being the best. When LL Cool J was ruling the charts and helping build the towers of Def Jam, a basketball pioneer was relaying the foundations of the forum. Mama said knock every other team out. The Lakers-let alone the league-haven't seen a P.G., like him since. It took Nick Van Exel, some clutch Derek Fisher buckets and an ageing Steve Nash last year to come even a little bit close decades later. His legend lives in Laker legacy and he is the greatest at his revolutionized position in league history.

Witness him hold court like a judge, passing death sentences to the opposition with the drop of the gavel. A jury of his peers found him guilty of stealing the gaze of everybody before their eyes. From Hollywood to the hardwood. It could be Jack Nicholson or Isiah Thomas...everyone wanted to get close to the savior of basketball, whose legacy was more than just legend. It was the end of the old way and a new day in what decades later is one of the most premier and popular sports of the century. As a business man he took Starbucks to the 'hood, as an all business basketball player he took the game to the globe, trotting like a Harlem player, making it all so fun again. Prepare to be amazed by all this world wonder that came from the most selfless player...no wait the most humble, selfless celebrity in history. No wonder the Red Hot Chilli Peppers dedicated a song to him like their 'Salute To Kareem' by the way.

There's hundreds and thousands of memories that truly amaze and that's just the icing on the cake. The Magic man's game was cooler than the ones he put in the Chick Hearn refrigerator, by the word of Jim Murray. From his explosive speed to finding he right place and pass for a shot and detonation...and boom goes the dynamite. From Jerry West to Jerry Buss he owned it. From the slickness of Pat Riley's drawn out play to the Worthy big game of James and the sky-hook, line and sinker of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the Los Angeles Lakers of the eighties overcame their Celtic green envy and beat Boston into meeting Larry O'Brien on some storied late June nights. Just like Los Angeles at it's best, it gets no hotter than that.

A shining star who was a beacon for basketball. An All-American who served over a billion people like McDonalds and did more for the world beyond basketball...and we aren't talking about his brilliant business ventures. A man who boldly looked the world and the HIV disease in the eyes and announced he wasn't giving up or giving in. You can't slow the pick and roll of the greatest. An inspiring figure who influenced changed the sport world with his friend Larry and more. Flying like Bird from the scissor cut net gains of college to the Barcelona Olympics it was all a dream, made real. As improvised and inspired as jazz, like Miles, Dizzy, Coltrane or Mingus, our man was behind the notes but ahead of the play.

He knew exactly where everything was going...his way. This was his life like his autobiography, the game was his along with Larry like their co-write. It was written, from the basketball gods to the record books. Engraved in the hardware of history. From the basketball hall to the Hollywood Walk Of Fame he dribbled the ball to it all. Raising his jersey to the rafters and hitting it all out the park before retiring and owning the Dodgers. From the banners to Broadway, coaches, analysts, purists and players still can't comprehend a player like him. This is no trick. This is as real as it gets.

Ladies and gentleman this is Earvin Johnson...this is Magic.

Now you see him.

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