Thursday, June 26, 2014

Los Angeles Lakers Sign Magic Johnson To 25 Year Deal

There are short contracts. There are long contracts. And then there's the contract Magic Johnson received on June 26, 1981.

After just two seasons, Magic Johnson was already considered one of the most talented players the NBA ever had. It was that level of skill that granted Magic the the most extensive deal in NBA history, as Jerry Buss handed Magic a 25-year, $25 million contract to stick around with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The deal began in 1984, would have ended in 2009, and gave the Lakers' guard one million per season. 

Johnson became just the third player to earn a million-dollar annual salary, joining fellow L.A. teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Houston Rockets forward Moses Malone.

Though he had been given largest contract in the history of professional sports, Johnson was a long way from being happy. Only five months later, the franchise player asked to be traded and subsequently forced Buss to fire head coach Paul Westhead.

With the hiring of Pat Riley in Westhead's place, Johnson remained with the Los Angeles Lakers and helped them win multiple titles over the course of the decade. But by the time his contract became active, it was no longer the lucrative mega-deal that it was when he signed it. Players of all sports were now making $2-3 million a year, and his 25-year deal was preventing him from raking in the cash. He later renegotiated his deal and resumed make top dollar like everyone else.