2. Magic Johnson
Finals MVP: 1980, 1982
Magic Johnson was the missing piece that came along at just the right time for the Lakers in the 1980s. Drafted by the franchise in 1979, Magic joined a Laker team that already featured the massive talent of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but had been unable to break through in the playoffs for quite some time.
He instantly changed the outlook for LA. Magic was just 20 years old as a rookie, and few players have ever had such an immediate and significant impact on their team from day one as Magic Johnson did.
Helping the team reach the NBA Finals in his rookie year, Magic’s passing skill was unmatched. One of the most meteoric stars in NBA history, he unlocked the Lakers’ offense in a huge way and got LA back to the level of a perennial contender.
As previously stated, Kareem certainly had an argument for the 1980 Finals MVP. But ultimately, Magic took home the award, becoming the youngest player to ever win the award at just 20 years and 276 days old. His 21.5 points and 8.7 assists per game against the 76ers in the Finals were stunning achievements for a rookie, leading the media to vote him in as MVP.
In 1982, Magic’s performance in the clinching Game 6 against Philadelphia went a long way toward him earning his second Finals MVP in three years. He put up 13 points to go with 13 assists and 13 rebounds, along with four steals and two blocks.
There is very little chance the Lakers win any of their championships in the 80’s without Magic Johnson at the helm, and that puts him below just one other Finals MVP in Lakers history.