Magic Johnson reveals for the first time the advice he got from Jordan upon returning to NBA in 1996

On Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday, Earvin “Magic” Johnson revealed for the first time the advice Michael Jordan gave him upon returning to the NBA in early 1996. Johnson had been away from the league for nearly five years due to his HIV diagnosis. In only his second game back, Johnson faced the stacked roster of the Chicago Bulls that would go on to win three world championships in a row.

“They really showed me the difference between a championship team and a playoff team,” Johnson said. “They were a championship team, we were just a regular team. And they played me so hard. They were physical, they pushed me around…” “They roughed you up,” Kimmel interjected. “Oh, no question about it,” Johnson replied.

After the game, Jordan gave his friend Johnson some advice.

“Michael, after that game, he pulled me aside — I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody this,” Johnson said. “He met me in between the locker rooms, and he said, ‘Earvin, you have to remember now, you’re not with Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), you’re not with James Worthy. All the guys you used to play with, showtime, are not on that Laker team anymore. So remember, maybe you should think about retiring.”

Just a few months later after Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs, at the age of 36, Johnson took Jordan’s advice and retired for good.

Video Transcript

[AUDIO LOGO]

MAGIC JOHNSON: They played me so hard. They were physical. They pushed me around.

JIMMY KIMMEL: They roughed you up.

MAGIC JOHNSON: Oh, no question about it. And Michael, after the game, he pulled me aside. I don't think I've ever told anybody this.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- On "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Thursday, Magic Johnson spoke about his return to the NBA in early 1996, after nearly 5 years away, due to his HIV diagnosis. Magic talked about playing the soon-to-be world champion Chicago Bulls in his second game back and being pushed around by the likes of Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman. And the Magic revealed, for the first time, the advice Jordan gave him after the game.

MAGIC JOHNSON: He met me in between the locker rooms. And he said, Earvin, you have to remember now, you're not with Kareem. You're not with James Worthy. All the guys you used to play with, Showtime, are not on that Laker team anymore. So remember, maybe you should think about retiring.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- Magic took Jordan's advice, a few months later, when his Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs. And Kimmel shared his thoughts on what Jordan said to Magic.

JIMMY KIMMEL: What a sick person.

[LAUGHTER]

What a sick individual.

[APPLAUSE]

JIMMY KIMMEL: But he was right. He was right.

MAGIC JOHNSON: Right or not--

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