Magic Johnson Almost Unretired to Play for the Knicks

Pat Riley coached Magic Johnson from 1981-1990.
Reuters

Magic Johnson played his entire career with the Lakers.

Even after his retirement from the NBA, when he found out he was HIV-positive, Johnson attempted two comebacks, both with Los Angeles.

Over 20 years after his initial retirement, Johnson admits he was close to playing for another one of the NBA's legendary franchises.

The Hall of Famer told ESPN's Bill Simmons that he almost played for the Knicks in the 1992-93 NBA Season.

Johnson retired before the previous season started, and played in a few preseason games for Los Angeles in 1992.

The former point guard worked out with Pat Riley, who coached the Knicks from 1991 to 1995. Riley coached Johnson in Los Angeles, and was constantly trying to persuade him to come to New York.

Pat was trying, said Johnson. He was working me.

In the end, it was Lakers owner Jerry Buss who put an end to any real thoughts that Johnson had of joining the Knicks.

We had been talking about it, Pat and I, and actually I talked to Dr. Buss, and Dr. Buss said, if you're coming back, you're going to come back a Laker.

Johnson made one final comeback, playing in 32 games during the 1995-1996 Season.

The current NBA analyst discussed his decision after ESPN aired 'The Announcement,' a documentary that chronicled Johnson's life once he was diagnosed with HIV.

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