1980 Nba Finals Mvp Controversy- Here’s the Incredible Story, Viewers of Winning Time

1980 nba finals mvp controversy

The 1980 NBA World Championship Series was the last round of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) playoffs for the 1979–80 season. The Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers won 4 games to 2 against the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers.

The league’s MVP was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but the Lakers centre sustained a severely injured ankle midway through Game 5. In the fourth quarter, he came back to lead the Lakers to victory and a 3–2 series lead in the best-of-seven series.

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However, the Lakers still had to travel to Philadelphia for Game 6. 76ers coach Billy Cunningham was quoted as stating, “I won’t believe he’s not playing until their plane lands and he’s not on it.” Abdul-Jabbar was classified as out of Game 6. Kareem was unable to make the trip and was listed as questionable if Game 7 was required.

Who Was the 1980 Nba Finals Mvp? Here’s the Incredible Story, Viewers of Winning Time

1980 nba finals mvp controversy

The first season conclusion of HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty was seen by viewers Friday night. The programme depicted the events of the 1979-80 season finale. Johnson, who was chosen as an All-Star starter during his rookie season, was beaten out for Rookie of the Year by Larry Bird.

The Lakers, on the other hand, went on to win the Western Conference championship. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Bird’s Celtics were upset by Julius Erving’s 76ers.

Los Angeles jumped out to an early lead in the NBA Finals, but ace big man Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was injured in Game 5. Johnson was charged with replacing the Purple and Gold captain as the starting centre after playing point guard all season.

Despite the absurdity of it, the rookie recorded 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in Game 6. The game would be won by Los Angeles.

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Johnson, a rookie, became only the third player in NBA history to win both the NCAA and NBA championships in the same season. Johnson won the NBA Finals MVP title for the first and only time. Before his professional career ended, Johnson would earn two more NBA Finals MVP honours. During his NBA career, he was a five-time NBA champion. HBO recently renewed Winning Time for a second season.

1980 nba finals mvp controversy

Magic Johnson or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for Mvp? Dissecting the Controversy

‘Promised Land,’ as divisive as it may have appeared, is a genuine depiction of what happened after the Los Angeles Lakers won the 1980 NBA Finals. Although it was announced that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would be named MVP, David Stern told Magic Johnson that he may accept the award because their centre was not present.

This is essentially what happened in the real-life version when CBS made the decision to replace the finals MVP. Because the network did not want to offer the award to an empty seat, voters were asked to modify their votes. The revised votes gave Magic a 4-3 victory over his captain, and despite the fact that Kareem deserved it statistically, the trophy eventually went to Johnson.

“For the television people, my not being there in Philadelphia to receive the trophy on camera was a tremendous inconvenience,” Abdul-Jabbar said in his biography, making it obvious he solely cared about winning the game.

1980 nba finals mvp controversy

The star did not hold Johnson responsible for the victory, saying, “the outcome was never a problem between Magic and myself.” The CBS stunt was certainly awful television, but it couldn’t take away from the accomplishments of the two guys who had one outstanding season.

What Happened in The 1980 Nba Finals’ First Four Games

The first four games of the 1980 NBA Finals are skipped over since Winning Time episode 10 places viewers in the middle of Game 5. On paper, the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers were an excellent matchup that produced close games on the court.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar controlled the series early on, scoring the most points in three of the first four games. Kareem’s 33 points helped the Lakers win Game 1 109-102, but his 38 points in Game 2 were not enough to overcome 72 points from Julius Erving, Darryl Dawkins, and Maurice Cheeks in a 107-104 triumph.

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The 76ers were also on the verge of a blowout win in Game 2, with an 18-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. In Game 3, the Lakers answered with a tremendous triumph, winning 111-101. In a back-and-forth Game 4, the 76ers came out on top, winning 105-102 and tied the series after holding Kareem to 23 points on 27 shots.

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