Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan shared an emotional moment after Jordan won his first NBA championship, leading the Chicago Bulls over the Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in 1991.
It’s something neither of them will forget.
“When they beat us, we met in between both locker rooms and he just put his arms [out] and just started crying,” Johnson said in "The Last Dance" documentary series. “He was so happy that he had won, that he had busted through. That was a special moment for him and myself.”
Jordan cried while clutching the Larry O’Brien championship trophy for his first time. He went on to win six NBA championships in eight seasons.
That moment was a passing of the torch of sorts. It marked the end of the Lakers' Showtime era and the start of the Bulls' dynasty of the 1990s.
In postgame interviews, Johnson showed class in paying respect to Jordan, who was named MVP of that series.
“It’s a beautiful feeling," Johnson said after the game. "If you’re going to lose, you’re going to lose to them, and I’m going to lose to Michael. That’s how it should be.”
Johnson won five titles with the Lakers. That was his last time playing in the NBA Finals.
“At last, I fit somewhere in the category of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson,” Jordan recalled on the documentary.
Jordan’s teammates were struck by how emotional he was after winning his first championship.
“Sometimes we’d question whether he was human, whether he had feelings," Will Perdue said in the documentary. "Just a guy that was totally focused on one thing and one thing only. The only emotion we’d ever seen out of him was anger or frustration. We were literally stunned to see those emotions.”