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Michael Jordan once told Magic Johnson during a game he should retire

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After announcing that he was retiring due to being HIV positive in November 1991, Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson tried to make a comeback the following year during training camp, but he backed off due to players around the league fearing they could contract the virus from him.

But by 1996, much progress had been made in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and the fear and ignorance, not to mention the stigma surrounding it and its victims, were starting to subside.

Thus, Johnson suited up once again for the Purple and Gold starting in late January of that year.

At age 36 and packing on more weight than he used to, he wasn’t quite as transcendent as he was in the 1980s, but he was still a very good player.

In just his second game back, Johnson went up against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, who were in the middle of winning a then-NBA record 72 games on the season.

The Bulls humbled the Lakers that night, 99-84, and according to Johnson, Jordan threw some shade at him that was disguised as advice.

Via Lakers Daily:

“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.”

Once Johnson returned to the court that season, the Lakers played very well, but there were clearly not the dominant and feared squad they were in the mid-1980s when they were probably the greatest team in NBA history.

If Lakers fans were dreaming of another Johnson-Jordan romp in the NBA Finals (they met there in 1991), they were greatly disappointed when the team instead went out meekly in the first round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets.

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