The NBA All-Star Game has returned to Orlando, with the city putting on a show for NBA All-Star weekend. It is the first time in 20 years that Orlando has hosted the midseason event, and the last time they hosted happened to be the greatest All-Star Game ever.
Magic Johnson in February 1992 was retired for three months, having left the NBA after testing positive for HIV. Yet NBA fans continued to vote for him for the NBA All-Star Game and he was one of the starting guards on the Western Conference. Tim Hardaway would have been the starter had only active players been eligible for the game, but he gracefully stepped aside for Johnson.
And Magic put on quite a show.
Magic had 16 points until late in the fourth quarter, when he went on a three-point barrage. But the final minutes of the game were what made this one memorable. After Johnson hit a pair of threes, his close friend Isiah Thomas cleared everyone out on offense so he could battle Magic one-on-one. Thomas pulled up for a jumper that missed, then Michael Jordan did the same against Magic on the next possession.
On offense on the next possession, Clyde Drexler got the ball to Magic, who was guarded closely by Thomas. Johnson hit a fall-away three-pointer with 14.5 seconds left and the game was simply ended at that point as the crowd erupted.
"You just can't orchestrate it better than that, but when you're great, you deliver on cue," said Dick Enberg, calling the game.
Magic scored 25 points and dished out nine assists, taking home game MVP honors. Twenty years ago in Orlando.