A lot of people who should know better are taking Magic’s words about keeping the pick totally the wrong way.
Magic, like all of the greatest athletes is a supreme egoist and totally confident he will win in any contest or endeavor he will ever be in. He believes he was born under a lucky star and can never be beaten.
I remember years ago reading a book about the Showtime Lakers. The Lakers went undefeated in the playoff and had come into Detroit for a title rematch with the Bad Boy Pistons.
As the Lakers buss pulled up to the hotel, on an eldritch, moon flooded night, Magic rose from his seat and starting giving this litany, or really more like a liturgy, “Now the real Bad Boys are here, they are not the Bad Boys, we are. They are not champions, we are. We are the team that cannot be beat, we are the team that will win this title.”
On and on he went almost mystically. Kareem said there was something spooky about the way Magic looked bathed in the moonlight, the look on his face, and the way he said it, like he was divining the future, that nothing could stop him or the team. Jabber said it was so strange and so compelling that chills ran up his spine.
Kareem said after that speech, he and every other player on that team knew they were going to win that series.
And that’s the Magic who said the Lakers would keep that pick. Because he is always that confident that he brings what it takes to win at anything. Of course belief does not guarantee anything as the Piston series showed, because we got swept.
Nothing was fixed and Magic didn’t know anything, he just believed he would not lose that pick, just as believed he would beat Detroit and HIV and win any other contest he enters.
What fans should know but don’t seem to is that for the NBA, it really doesn’t matter whether we got the pick or some other team did. It’s not going to make any difference in the grand scheme of things. Just like it doesn’t matter which teams go the finals or win it. Yeah, the ratings will be higher for certain teams, but that never makes or breaks the league or even close to it. Fixing a lottery or a game or a series would destroy the league and lots of very smart, very rich men with stellar reputations and careers would lose everything they went to school for and worked so hard for, probably including their families, if they were dumb enough to fix lotteries or series. They would go to jail.….for no reason at all. The reasons only exist in the fans minds because they don’t understand the reality of it.
This is the reality, great teams and stars come and go, the next year arrives fast, and new players are always coming up and young, exciting teams too. It’s the cycle of sport life. But you know the one constant thru it all? The league. The league just keeps going on. Just like in Baseball and the NFL.
None of those leagues fix the draft or the games. They have zero reason to do it and every reason on earth not to.
Magic, like on that eerie, moonlight night in Detroit was sure we would keep that pick and he told Walton that. That’s how he is. And this time, unlike in Detroit, when he told his team they would win, he was right.
Oh and by the way, if you don’t think he was also sure we would get the number one pick in the entire draft which ended up with Boston, then you don’t know Magic.