Magic Johnson Confirms Fight With Ron Boone As Rookie

Jun 3, 2022, 6:39 PM | Updated: 6:40 pm
Utah Jazz guard Theodore "Blue" Edwards defends Los Angeles Lakers guard Earvin "Magic" Johnson (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson confirmed that he did get into a scuffle with current Utah Jazz radio analyst Ron Boone when the two were teammates in LA.

In his new documentary “They Call Me Magic,” Johnson retold the story of exchanging blows on the basketball floor with Boone.

The exchange was first documented in the HBO miniseries “Winning Time” but like many elements of the show, the Johnson and Boone interaction was exaggerated.

In episode one of his four-part Apple TV documentary, Johnson detailed the truth behind his fight with Boone.

“We were in practice, I was boxing out Ron Boone,” Johnson said. “All of a sudden I looked up at the rim and the ball, and he had hit me right behind my head really hard, and he was smiling.”

Boone had been in the ABA and the NBA for 10 years before being traded to the Lakers in 1978 and was known for his physical style of play.

“Ron was old school,” former Lakers coach Paul Westhead said. “As tough as they come and he’d look at you and you’d say, ‘Oh what did I do?'”

After Boone’s first season in LA, the Lakers selected Johnson with the top overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft and brought with him large expectations after leading Michigan State to their first NCAA title.

Johnson’s fame made Lakers veterans wary of Johnson’s flashy reputation.

“He was a target,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said. “He just had to be careful.”

Boone in particular wanted to make sure Johnson was aware of his presence on the team.

“Ron would not back down to anybody,” Westhead said. “He told me wanted to let the rookie know that, ‘I’ve been here for 12 years, so don’t mess with me.'”

But Johnson didn’t back down from Boone’s physical play in the now-infamous practice.

“The next time he’s boxing me out, ‘Oh, Ron Boone?’ Let’s see what you got.” Johnson recalled. “You think first of all you drafted the wrong dude? I got some for you. So I ran in as fast as I could and I hit him as hard as I could. He shouldn’t have woke that quiet bear up, so he woke me up.”

Unfortunately, Boone’s time in LA didn’t last long after Johnson’s arrival. The scrappy forward was traded to the Jazz in October of 1979 where Boone would play the final two years of his career, while the Lakers would go on to win the NBA title in their first year with Magic.

The entire “They Call Me Magic” documentary is streaming on Apple TV while “Winning Time” is streaming on HBO. Content in both series may not be appropriate for all audiences.

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