NBA Finals, Game 6: 1980
Magic Johnson Fills In At Center
The 1980 NBA Finals pitted Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Los Angeles Lakers against Julius Erving's Philadelphia 76er's. After four games the series was split at two a piece and although the Lakers were able to scrap together a Game 5 victory, they lost their Hall Of Fame center in the process.
Kareem, who suffered a sprained ankle in Game 5, was unable to travel to Philadelphia for Game 6. That's when Lakers rookie, Earvin "Magic" Johnson rose to the occasion.
As legend has it, Magic boarded the team plane prior to Game 6, plopped himself down into Abdul-Jabbar's customary front-row seat, winked at coach Paul Westhead and then gleefully announced to his teammates, "Never fear, E.J. is here!"
Magic took the jump ball in Kareem's absence and went on to play every position on the floor, scoring 42 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing out seven assists as the Lakers clinched the series with a 123-107 victory, the first of Magic's 5 NBA titles.
After the game, Magic looked into one of the tv cameras and said, "This one's for you big fella!"