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“Mobs” Caused Magic Johnson’s Wife Cookie to Oppose His Return to the Lakers in 1996

Despite his shortened career, fans still regard Magic Johnson as one of the greatest to ever do it. However, many still wonder how his career would have panned out if he hadn’t contracted HIV and retired at the height of his career. Likewise, that was the same thought the Hall of Famer himself pondered during his frequent visits on the hardwood after his retirement. Consequently, the 5x NBA champion decided to return to the Los Angeles Lakers one last time in 1996.

However, his decision to return to the NBA faced significant pushback from his wife Cookie Johnson. Mrs. Johnson’s concerns came on the back of major life-threatening perils.

Cookie Johnson issued major pushback to Johnson’s return plans

Magic Johnson had a stellar career in the 80s and abruptly left the league at the dawn of the 90s. On November 07, 1991, Johnson shocked the NBA world by announcing his retirement after contracting HIV, which causes AIDS.

Fast forward a couple of years, after the hysteria around the disease had somewhat subsided, Johnson was already making frequent appearances in high-profile games. However, his NBA aspirations witnessed a staunch pushback from Mrs. Johnson. In an interview with the New York Times in 1996, Cookie Johnson explained how she was not even aware of his return plans. Furthermore, she explained why her Hall of Fame husband returning to the league was such a nuisance for the family.

Read More – “Something Was Wrong, Really Wrong”: Having to Send Her Girlfriend Out, Magic Johnson’s “Devastated” Wife Cookie Was Struck With Life-Altering Truth

She explained, “We had finally gotten to a plateau where it was kind of calm, nobody bothered us, we didn’t have to worry about The National Enquirer trying to make up a story, We had a close-to-normal life. There wasn’t like mobs of people anymore. Do you know what I’m saying? I liked my privacy.”

Therefore, Cookie Johnson wanted to avoid the hustle and the bustle that accompanied a return to the NBA.

Magic Johnson returns to the NBA in 1996

However, Johnson seemingly disregarded most of Mrs. Johnson’s concerns. The 3x MVP already got some basketball action in his retirement. In 1992, he played in the All-Star game as an honorary member and also on the United States Men’s Basketball Team in the Barcelona Olympics. Interestingly, he tried to make a comeback that year but witnessed concerns from players not wanting to play with him. Moreover, in 1993-94 he got the head coaching job with the Lakers, where he coached for 16 games but decided to call it quits soon after. 

But in 1996, after years of flirting with the possibility of making a return, Johnson wore the #32 Lakers uniform again. The 6’9” guard had kept himself in the right physical condition enabling him to get right back into the grueling NBA schedule mid-season. Johnson played for 32 games and averaged 14.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 5.7 rebounds. 

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However, Johnson retired from the NBA for good after a short stint in the playoffs that season and clear signs of ‘father time’ taking over. 


The post “Mobs” Caused Magic Johnson’s Wife Cookie to Oppose His Return to the Lakers in 1996 appeared first on EssentiallySports.


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