Michigan State has helped Los Angeles to seven world championships

Michigan State stars who shined during championship years in Los Angeles are (from left) Kirk Gibson, Magic Johnson and Steve Garvey.
(Associated Press and Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles would still be “tinseltown” without the contributions of Michigan State, in town this week for the Rose Bowl, but it would be less of a “title” town.

Three former Michigan State players have helped L.A. to seven total professional championships.

Michigan State, of course, gave us Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who led the Lakers to five NBA titles.

Johnson was a two-time All-American at Michigan State and came to the Lakers after leading the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA title.


Two former Michigan State football and baseball players, Steve Garvey and Kirk Gibson, helped the Dodgers to the World Series championships of 1981 and 1988.

Garvey played defensive back at Michigan State for Duffy Daugherty in the 1960s.

Freshmen were still ineligible in 1966 so Garvey did not play in the “Game of the Century” against Notre Dame that ended in a 10-10 tie.

Garvey, though, played the scout-team role in practice of Notre Dame quarterback Terry Hanratty.


Garvey earned a football letter in 1967, recording 30 tackles, before turning pro in baseball as the Dodgers’ first-round pick (No. 13 overall) in the 1968 MLB draft.

Garvey played in 1,207 consecutive games and was part of the Dodgers’ 1981 World Series championship team.

Gibson, long before he hit that famous home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, was a star receiver for Michigan State. As a senior in 1978, Gibson had 42 catches for 806 yards and left as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (112) and receiving yards (2,347).

Gibson’s career average of 21 yards per catch is still the best in Michigan State history.



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