Magic Johnson recorded many triple-doubles in his career. But the first one is always the most special.
Magic Johnson was an oddity in his early NBA days.
He was a 6-9 point guard during a time when guys his size were supposed to bang down low.
So, being special and doing special things were expected of him.
He, also, was expecting to achieve special things.
Thus, on Oct. 28, 1979, he went out onto the hardwood with a mission on his mind –he was going to become one of the youngest players to record a triple-double.
Magic Johnson’s First Career Triple-Double
The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors this particular night and Magic did work on them.
He hocus-pocused and razzle-dazzled his opponents the entire contest.
But the game was also close the entire time and any team could’ve taken the win that night.
The Warriors’ Robert Parish kept pouring in points and grabbing rebounds (19 points and 9 rebounds) to combat the Lakers’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s output (26 points and 8 rebounds).
But what put L.A. over was –you guessed it- Magic.
He recorded a triple-double (near quadruple-double, actually) with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. He also got 7 steals to help the Lakers beat the Warriors 97-90.
I would highlight this game or at least his stats by quarter but it’s not available online. I also didn’t watch the game live because, ya know, I’m not an old geezer (despite the blog’s name).
What Makes This Truple- Double Special
Anywhoo, it was his first triple-double and what makes it notable was that it was just his fifth NBA game.
He had been a professional for only five games and had already gotten his first triple-double.
And the wild thing is that he almost recorded one in his second NBA game. But he was one rebound short and two assists off from achieving it.
After this game, Magic –who must have caught the triple-double bug- went on to record many more trip-dubs throughout his career.
And it didn’t seem too difficult for him to do so, either.
He was big –as mentioned earlier- and a natural playmaker, and it was easy for him to see over his defenders. Magic was also a scrappy guy who didn’t mind fighting for boards.
He recorded a total of 138, including a 32-points-22-assists-and-11-rebounds one in 1988 and one with 41 points in 1981.
Magic Johnson’s Final Triple-Double
The last trip-dub he recorded was in 1996 after he came from retirement earlier that season in 1995.
It was Feb. 14 and was Magic’s sixth game of the season. He came off of the bench and tallied 15 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds for the Lakers as they battled the Atlanta Hawks.
And if you’re curious, they won by one.
Magic Johnson was one heck of a player and had the best court vision in the game. He was also big and athletic.
When combined, these three features created a triple-double machine.