Magic Johnson Signs 25-year $25 Million Contract with Lakers
During the off-season, Johnson signed a 25-year, $25 million contract with the Lakers, which was the highest-paying contract in sports history up to that point.
At the beginning of the 1981–82 season, Johnson had a heated dispute with Westhead, who Johnson said made the Lakers "slow" and "predictable".
Earvin Johnson deservedly earned the name Magic Johnson with his play for the Los Angeles Lakers and in June 1981 he was rewarded with the longest contract in NBA history as well as the longest contract in the history of North American professional sports.
The deal was $25 million for 25 years; a million dollars a year.
That may not seem like much now-a-days but at the time $65,000.00 was the minimum salary so in retrospect his contract was a slam dunk.
Johnson missed 45 games last season with a left knee injury but came back with a month to go, and all seemed right with the Lakers—until they were upset in a playoff mini-series with Houston. Johnson took the shot on the Lakers' last play in that defeat and came up with nothing but air. That was no fun.
About two months later, Buss made a shocking announcement: He had signed Johnson to a 25-year, $25 million contract starting in 1984. Barely a month after Abdul-Jabbar heard about that deal he was in Buss's office demanding that the owner regain his senses. Surely you can't be serious, Jerry. Magic's a great kid and a terrific player, but with that kind of money, nobody's going to be able to talk to him—not even the coach.... Abdul-Jabbar was assuaged, but the seeds of discord had been planted.