How Many Rings Does Magic Johnson Have?

Everyone in the NBA plays for championships. Rings are the most important thing in the league, and the more a player gets during their career, the more respect they earn. However, unlike other leagues, to be truly great in the NBA you need more than one. Sometimes, you need five.

This guide will look at one of the winningest players of all time, Magic Johnson, who has five championship rings (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988).

And then use that analysis to break down his various championship runs. That will show, not just how special he was during his heyday, but what it takes to be considered an all-time great.

Building a Legacy

Earvin “Magic” Johnson was undoubtedly one of the greatest point guards to ever play in the NBA. He was athletic, had an amazing court IQ, could use his size to overpower defenders, and knew how to make the right play at the right time. More importantly, he was a winner.

For better or for worse, basketball is a game of haves and have nots. It doesn’t matter how skilled a player is, they lose a lot of their allure if they can’t win a championship. Even many hall of famers, including Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson, can’t get past that losing stigma.

Johnson never had that issue. In fact, he started collecting rings as soon as he got into the NBA. That immediate success didn’t just show his resolve and skill, it revealed that he was special right from the start. 

Win, Again and Again

The tall point guard excelled in college, and was the first overall pick in 1979. Joining up with other greats like James Worthy and Kareem Abdul Jabaar, he thrived in the Lakers high-flying system. He won his first ring in 1980, and then took home a second in 1982.

He didn’t just skate by during those years either. In both cases, and despite having multiple other hall of famers on his team, Johnson took home Finals MVP both times. He led the team in various ways and was truly a stand out player destined for greatness.

Two rings puts any athlete into the upper echelon, but Johson wasn’t content to stop there. After losing two years in a row, he bounced back in 1985 to give Los Angeles (and himself) a third ring in a short five year span.

From there, he would go on to win two more in 1987 and 1988. As with his other rings, he was the star during both campaigns and played a key component in his team’s victories.  

Those campaigns were especially important in terms of Johnson’s legacy because they brought him up to five rings for his career. He wouldn’t ever get back to the top once the league shifted into the 90’s, but it was enough to push him into the record books.

The Importance of Five

Many people consider Magic Johnson to be one of the top ten players of all time. A lot of that has to do with his on court play, but his ring count means a lot as well. Winning two or three is a big deal, but winning five puts you into a whole different category.

There are currently 83 players who have won three or more championships. That’s not a lot compared to everyone who’s ever been in the league. Even more than that, of those 83, only 27 have ever gotten five or more. That’s a huge cut off that shows Johnson’s prestige.

Getting five rings is so difficult that once you take out the Celtics teams of the 60’s, who famously won double digit titles, only 15 players have five or more rings. It’s an incredibly special club that even some amazing players like Lebron aren’t in.

Being a winner is tough. Being able to do it again and again is something that very few athletes have ever achieved. Johnson isn’t just someone who succeeded at the highest level, he succeeded at the highest level time and time again.

Final Words

On paper, it’s not always easy to see why certain athletes get the respect they do. Johnson’s stats were impressive, but they get much more so when factoring in his championships. He made it to the top of the NBA world five times in his career, and he did it as a leader.

He completely dominated the 80’s, taking over the entire decade among plenty of other all-time greats. Though Jordan’s crew got six rings in the 90’s, and the current Warriors might reach five, it’s a special feat that only happens once a decade or less.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *