He was perhaps the greatest player in Lakers history, but his coaching career was shorter than his career as a late night talk show host. "The Magic Hour" debuted on the Fox network in 1998 and lasted two months - -one more than Johnson's tenure as interim coach of the team he had propelled to the finals nine times.
Johnson became the fifth former player to be named Lakers head coach, though the results paled in comparison to the lofty heights he had reached as a player -- retiring as the NBA's all-time leader assists leader, a 12-time All-Star and winner of three league MVP awards and five NBA titles. A 6-foot-9 point guard who mastered the art of the no-look pass and the "junior" sky hook, he was the ultimate winner, the best player of his generation, the architect of "Showtime" in the 1980s.
After finding out he had contracted HIV, Johnson retired from playing in 1991, just five months after leading the Lakers to the Finals against Chicago. Fans voted him into the 1992 NBA All-Star game and he was named MVP with 25 points, nine assists and five rebounds in the West's 153-113 victory. That summer, Johnson led the "Dream Team" to an Olympic gold medal in Barcelona, Spain. He announced that he wanted to return to the Lakers for the 1992-93 season but decided not to when several players in the league voiced their objections.
With the 1993-94 season spiraling down the drain, the Lakers called on a bit of Magic to spark a playoff run. It appeared to work at first when the team reeled off five wins in six games. Johnson realized this was a new generation of player and the more time he put in, the more his players tuned him out. The Lakers ended the season on a 10-game skid and Johnson tendered his resignation. The following season, he made a comeback on the court at the age of 36 and averaged 14.6 points, 6.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds at power forward.