On 17 February 2017, an image purportedly showing Magic Johnson and a crew of celebrities (including actors Jack Nicholson, singers Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince, boxer Mike Tyson, and comedian Eddie Murphy) arriving at the NBA Playoffs was shared on Instagram by musician Snoop Dogg:
However, this image does not show Magic Johnson and a celebrity crew taking in basketball playoffs; it’s actually a composite of several different photographs.
The picture of Magic Johnson was taken by photographer Andrew D. Bernstein and shows the NBA star strolling about Los Angeles in 1988. The picture of Jack Nicholson was taken at the premiere of the movie The Crossing Guard in 1995.
The pictures of Michael Jackson and Madonna were taken at the Oscars in 1991:
This picture was created for an article published by Bleacher Report Magazine about a proposed one-on-one match between NBA legends Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Although this match never happened, one could imagine that Johnson would have walked into Caesar’s Palace with a similar crew at his side:
Thee made-for-TV court at Caesars Palace could have been empty except for one basketball and two of the game’s most illustrious players ever. They would’ve been free of teammates, facing each other head-on in The King of the Court, to finally answer a question that remained unanswered for so long: Who’s better—Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson?
The game was to consist of two halves—one-on-one, 15 minutes each—in a heavyweight matchup: a pay-per-view special, maybe on HBO, but certainly not NBC, because this wasn’t going to be some regular Sunday afternoon NBA game. This was meant to be a stunt of the highest order, under the bright lights of Las Vegas, the winner set to take home $1 million, with many, many more millions at stake.
You’d still be talking about the original King of the Court right now if the TV executives had their way, because it could have been the pilot of an annual series: Duncan vs. Garnett, Kobe vs. LeBron, Westbrook vs. Curry, you name it. Instead, Jordan vs. Magic remains lost to memory of what may be the greatest basketball game never played.