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Magic Says He’s Worth More Than Lakers Are Paying Him

Magic Johnson said Tuesday that he is worth more money than the National Basketball Assn. champion Lakers are paying him.

Johnson, voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player last season, was speaking at a news conference promoting Sunday’s all-star basketball game at the Forum benefiting the United Negro College fund.

“I feel I am underpaid, yes,” said Johnson, whose 25-year, $25 million contract began in 1984.

Johnson first expressed problems with his salary when the New York Knicks signed rookie center Patrick Ewing in 1985 for more than $1 million a year.

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Then when the Lakers signed center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for two years at an estimated $5 million during last season’s playoffs, Johnson again said he was not earning enough money.

“I haven’t changed my mind about it,” he said. “But I’m not really thinking about it one way or another right now.”

Asked whether he would ask for his contract to renegotiated, Johnson said he hadn’t decided. “When I make up my mind, you all will be the first to know,” he said.


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