MEET THE NBA'S SCHOOL OF ROCK -- History of the NBA Finals Part 31

1979

The Michigan State Spartans had just won the national title.

Magic Johnson was Jack Black...performing live and showing extraordinary skill and enthusiasm...

And so Magic ends up in a classroom of kids that are, you know, career professionals. The 1980 Los Angeles Lakers.

They have Jamaal Wilkes, they have Norm Nixon, they have Michael Cooper.

Cooper would have been the little girl in the front who was the "factotum" or whatever.

The one with all the gold stars.

The one who Magic will soon anoint as the manager.

For it looks like it will be a long season.

So Magic is watching the early practices before his first pre-season game, and he's watching them...okay...

The Japanese kid on piano...that was Wilkes.

His talent was obvious.

And then he notices that the other Lakers are not only executing a tune...but following the one that's being played flawless by the lead guitarist.

This little anti-social kid is just knocking in hook shot after hook shot, faking, rebounding, hitting every foul shot, clearing whole front courts out so Coop and Norm can shoot threes.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Magic Johnson gets an idea.

And so when they return from their practice, Magic says "I saw you guys out there. You guys can really play. Why didn't anyone TELL ME?! You--"

"Me?" Kareem says.

"You play guitar?" Magic asks.

And so that was how Showtime began. The number one pick in the draft simply couldn't believe that he was on a championship contender all of a sudden. He thought he was going to some shitty elementary school. He thought that at least for a year or so, he'd have to pretend that he was Mr. Schleebly.

Meanwhile Magic has a principal -- Joan Cusack.

Paul Westhead.

Magic will end up becoming the guy who has the others set up elaborate ways to execute what they do without his knowledge.

Westhead is barely involved in the true chemistry of the Lakers, for Magic, once realizing who he's substitute teaching for...can't be stopped.

Sure enough the parents are fucking confused.

Their kids are suddenly obsessed with David Geffen and bringing rock and roll home for homework.

Magic assures them -- Kareem....is an insane basketball player. He's the next Wilt Chamberlain, and he's still very young.

Michael Cooper? That cat puts on a whole defensive show by himself...you should be very proud Mr. and Mrs. Cooper.

Oh...and you too Mr. and Mrs. Wilkes.

Your freaking son is the ladies man of the Lakers.

Look, all I know is, I know...I've been touched by your team...and I know I touched them.

This would start all the backhanded rumors about Magic I'm sure.

For did you guys know why David Copperfield has AIDS? He did Magic.

PLAYING!!!! I'm so playing I'm so sorry.

Look the guy's not even halfway sick, kiss my balls.

Anyway, Magic would end up getting the Lakers to 60 wins.

Meanwhile out west, Larry Bird would get Boston 61!

Literally, from the very start, it was Larry vs. Magic.

Bird's Celtics were hot. Cowens was still there, in his last year, and Red Auerbach had gone and traded two busters for Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.

Tiny Archibald had come a few years earlier, as had power forward Cedric Maxwell and shooting guard Gerald Henderson.

Now here's the fun part.

Did all you youngsters know that Kevin McHale DID NOT START FOR THESE FIRST COUPLE YEARS?!

For seven whole seasons, it's Cedric Maxwell until about 1984.

Dennis Johnson was still on Seattle, keeping playing time from Vinnie Johnson.

Meanwhile the 76ers were rejuvenated once again.

Bobby Jones, Darryl Dawkins (from 77), Dr. J, Cardwell Jones the center, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks, and Nick Iavaroni.

Get to know this bunch, because they REALLY REALLY try.

For to understand the 76ers of the early 80s, is to understand Leo Fitzpatrick from the movie "Kids".

Telly.

He got AIDS in his first movie attempt, his character at least.

But in 1980, after his voice deepened a little bit and he got taller, Telly would train the next generation of "Kids"....in Larry Clark's awesome "Bully" (2001).

Telly plays the wannabe gangster leader who pounds on Bobby Kent's face during the murder.

He's there to let Marty Puccio and Lisa and Ali and Donnie and Heather and Derek...that they don't know the half of what's out there, for this a Larry Clark film they're in.

Goodness sakes Lisa, this guy virtually says, ten minutes into this movie you were on the toilet naked wiping your ass for NO REASON!

This is how the director of this world we're in right now...demonstrates that one of you is pregnant.

Quentin Tarantino just had Uma looking at a pregnancy test!

For god's sake Toney, Cheeks and Bobby Jones! This is not a game around here, this is no kid's movie.

If you actually say you're going to kill somebody in a Larry Clark world? He's not only going to end up dead, he's going to have sand crabs eating out the bottom of his back! And we're gonna show a few seconds of it!

This is Philadelphia basketball in the NBA we're talking about here, Telly told them.

The kind of league where you end up with AIDS just by having sex with unconscious junkies!

And so that's when Marty Puccio, AKA Darryl Dawkins, busted out his diving knife to show Telly he was serious.

Breaking a backboard just by dunking.

"See," said Dr. J. "Now THAT's cool."

And so they would fuck up Bobby Kent in the Eastern Conference Finals -- the Boston Celtics.

This bully team that always got things right, and always ended up employed and even on the path to running their own business while all their opponents ended up abused and dropping out.

Philadelphia leaves them for dead.

But the world would find out, and thus came the Lakers.

Jack Black thus will try to win Battle of the Bands...versus a team consisting of bad motherfucker Nicky Katt and several murderous ball players on Philadelphia who have a motive to dominate.

Kareem sprains his ankle in Game 5, much like Zac's father keeps telling him no rock and roll, you practice your classical music.

For now he's depressed and facing the prospect of being worthless to this band.

He helps the Lakers to victory by writing a song that the rest master so they can perform it even if he's not there...

This is the point in School of Rock when the parents are first discovering that they can't find their kids.

Kareem is INJURED?!!!!!!!!

So they rush to the television screens all hysterical for Game 6 in Philadelphia.

Battle of the Bands.

Out comes Magic in an exact replica of a schoolboy outfit worn by the lead guy from AC/DC. The first one.

That's not all.

Magic starts...at CENTER.

He goes right to the lead singer's microphone and starts playing lead vocalist in Zac's song, the way Zac had been accustomed to doing thus far.

He scores 42 points, over 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

He leads them to victory.

Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers are the 1980 NBA World Champions.

Forevermore afterwords, Lakers basketball training videos...were the rave at the video store.

Just like the parents were willing to spend money...on after-school guitar lessons taught by Jack Black.

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