Lakers Moments: Magic Johnson and the famous junior skyhook


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Story with a hook
: Lakers guard Magic Johnson throws a junior skyhook over Celtics forward Larry Bird in Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals on June 11, 1987.

In the 1986-87 season, the Lakers and Celtics matched up again in the NBA Finals, in what turned out to be the final Lakers-Celtics matchup of the Showtime era.

The Lakers routed Boston in the first two games, the Celtics won Game 3 and seemed poised to win Game 4 before Johnson’s memorable junior skyhook from the middle of the lane with time running out. The shot ultimately helped the Lakers gain a 107-106 victory. Los Angeles wrapped up the title in six games, and Johnson was named the NBA Finals most valuable player.


There was one more memorable moment left in the season, however. After the Lakers’ championship parade, Coach Pat Riley guaranteed that the Lakers would repeat as NBA champions in 1987-88. Riley planned the statement in advance and used it as a motivating tool throughout the following season.

Read more about the 1986-87 season in All Things Lakers, the Los Angeles Times interactive database of all things purple and gold.

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-- Houston Mitchell and Sarah Ardalani