Magic Johnson Wants To See How Lakers Respond As Underdogs

Magic Johnson Wants To See How Lakers Respond As Underdogs


MagicJohnsonHeading into this season, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding if Kobe Bryant will return for the season opener against the Clippers and if the Lakers have enough pieces to even make the playoffs.

With two months before the start of training camp, one thing is for certain: the Lakers will be underdogs and under the radar according to Magic Johnson (h/t Los Angeles Daily News).

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At a recent brunch for his foundation, Johnson acknowledged this is the first time in a while where the Lakers aren’t championship favorites, and he is interested to see how the team responds:

“For the first time, the Lakers will be underdogs and under the radar. Let’s see how they respond to that. A lot of people think they’re not making the playoffs. Let’s see what the players decide to do.”

While Magic is usually critical of the Lakers, he recalled the time when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired and the franchise was in a similar position:

“I remember when Kareem retired and they picked us and said the Lakers are over with. I got so mad. I didn’t know what to do. I was thinking, ‘So nobody can play but Kareem?’ I got with James Worthy and the rest of the guys. I told them ‘Do you hear what they’re saying about us?”

It’s the exact mindset the Lakers need to have this upcoming season, and there’s no doubt that Kobe Bryant will challenge his teammates to prove those doubters wrong as Magic and his Lakers once did.

This year’s Lakers team seems to understand the tradition and the situation at hand. When there are fifteen men who take pride in wearing the purple and gold armor, anything can happen.


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  • Paytc

    Obviously, you were one of the all time greats.You thrive off doing more with less.I think Kobe is simular.Now we need to light the same fire under Gasol’s rear.You were able to rally the troops so everyone had one goal In mind.I think Kobe, and Nash, also brings a consistent workman like, all out determination.Having the three so call superstars and team leaders providing the example is critical.Gasol’s mindset is the only one of the three I question.Will Gasol be once again looking over his shoulder at a possible trade?Even if rumors are out there…. Gasol needs to play hard every night.

    Howard’s immaturity, and lack of championship desire also led to the teams poor chemistry.Playing without the divide and distraction should improve the team chemistry.

    Hopefully the big three can remain healthy throughout the season.If Gasol,Kobe,Hill,and Nash were all healthy last season they may have played better.

    My philosophy is geared around mounting and conquering the odds.

    It would be great to see the Lakers adopt the attitude your suggesting.

  • Jim213

    Agree with the expert Magic, as IMO next season will be more about representing the BRAND than contending while we look to acquire other tools to place us back as contenders.

    • Paytc


      Sure the Lakers are not expected to dominate the NBA or the the West for that matter…
      But there is only one way to play the game successfully,and it starts with all out effort.
      I have a feeling Kobe and company will not be satisfied with just representing the brand.
      What Magic is implying is not meant to just represent “the brand”.

      The Lakers have a championship or bust mentality.That is the brand and mentality Kobe and hopefully the Laker team will be representing.It’s a never quit attitude.It’s a chip on the shoulder.

      When Joe Montana and the 49ers won their 1st Super Bowl they were coming off a 2-12 season or something of that nature(clearly underdogs).When Ali knocked out Liston he was clearly the under dog.There are many examples of great individuals and great teams over coming the odds.

      Magic and my points are ….Don’t let anyone else’s beliefs dictate your outcome.

      They can write you off ,but you don’t just agree with them. Because they haven’t a clue on what a champions heart is made of. Go Lakers!

      • Jim213

        Agree, but like I stated before chemistry, depth, and the well being of players will determine their success though representing the Brand means putting one’s best foot forward while playing competitive. But IMO time will tell if the team can solidly bond to be contenders given the youth acquisitions.

        • richard

          Awesome comments on this thread… Jim213 and Paytc… just one thing I would like to mention about the Lakers acquisitions… except for Harris and possibly Kelly, they are not exactly the youth and inexperienced team some pundits have pictured the acquisitions to be…

          YOung, Johnson, Farmar, Kaman, and possibly Landry are all about 26-28 years old… this is the age of NBA players where they start to figure things out, begins to mature. they are actually a veteran team but younger. And with the core of Kobe, Pau, and Nash and the contirbution of J.Hill, Meeks, and Blakes… this is still a very experienced team.

          • Jim213

            Good point but for me it’s about bonding as a team. With a lot of youth we get players that want to prove themselves and often or likely may make the wrong decisions to try to prove themselves ex. only (Yasiel Puig). They’ll need to bond and learn or do the little things to win games to improve our odds IMO.

          • richard

            AGree with you on Chemistry… no team has ever won without coming together to pursue a singular goal…

            I am very optimistic about team chemistry this year. all our acquisitions wants to be here and took less for it. And as far as I know, there is not one who is a headcase in any teams that they played with in the past.

          • Eddie Lazaro

            That’s where the full training camp is very important. Calming the egos, timing & synchronicity, cohesion’s and chemistry. Mastering the system and implementing them. making plays, offensive and defensively. That’s also the most critical time they have to know each other, get that necessary rapport , on and off the courts, in and out of the games. Knowing all of that & all are comfortable with each other with their bonding’s, it is time to rock the league and take it all the way.

          • Eddie Lazaro

            and “VERY DANGEROUS”, I should add. Thanks for all the input guys, very entertaining…. Getting me so “Excited” about or chances. “Championships again at LAKERS land”

        • Paytc

          Yes sir !

          I will enjoy watching

  • richard

    If Kobe returns in the month of December as originally planned way back in April… I would like to put this out here that we will not be looking bad as many people mentioned…. here is how the absence of Kobe has been in the last 3 seasons…

    27 games before Christmas. Lakers regular season record w/o Kobe: 3-1 in 2012, 5-3 in
    2011, 6-3 in 2009. A 2 to 1 ratio is nice. Wouldn’t be mad at an 18-9 or more likely 16-11 record by Christmas. I’ll take a 16-11 record heading into Christmas with Kobe still on the mend.

    If the record stands at 18-9.. which is winning 2 out of 3 games… I believe, Kobe will be happy to wait things out until fully healthy and comes back by January, taking the full 9 months recovery.

    • Jim213

      Agreed but IMO we had better chemistry… wish management would’ve gone after Nate Robinson who went cheap to the Nuggs. Although, it can be a possibility with regards to a trade ex. Blake and Hill. Possible but unlikely though this would put us in the bottom of the mix while the season determines the teams potential IMO.

    • Paytc

      It would be nice if the team could hold things together and allow Kobe to be sure he is fully healed.I do think Kobe and his medical team will not risk things.If he is ahead of schedule that’s just Kobe and his desire and work ethics paying off.

  • Paytc

    We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.Let’s go shake up the world !
    Go Lakers!

    • Eddie Lazaro

      I like the idea of us going under radar, everyone is not expecting the storm brewing from the Lakers. They upped their predictions, putting us to the 10th position in the west which still far worse than the 2005. We’ll have to prove them all wrong, and again, as it has always been the case.

      Nothing is new about bashing the Lakers or Kobe for that matter. BSPN had been doing it to the franchise and so much more on Kobe for more than 12yrs. But time and time again, he has risen to the challenges and proved them the opposite of what they’re all saying.

      This year IMO is not about representing just the Brand. This team is about taking it all to the BEST they can EVER BE! Everyone is vying for a possible position not just for now, but also about next year and their secured future with the franchise. We have been adding a lot of non star names but given the chance they have right now, they are willing to prove they belong here, in the big league, and where is the best place to showcase and highlight their games better that the LAKERS?

      “Championship all the way!”

      • Paytc

        Eddie, I think the Lakers did add some youth and athleticism.But they will still be battling up hill until they get in sink as a team.I know we will want to score, and I’m good with that as long as we play on both sides of the ball.I agree with you we will have some hungry and motivated/focused players.Gasol,Kobe,and Blake I believe are playing out the final years of their contracts.Kobe plays every game as though it were his last, so nothing will change for him.But we will get a focused Gasol and Blake.And your right, all our new players will be hungry to earn nice paydays.It should be a fun ticket.Hopefully we find a way to win the tight games ,especially until Kobe gets back into his groove.