Private Stache: Magic The GatheringS

As keeper of Sports Illustrated's indispensable Vault, Andy Gray spends a lot of his time sifting through the sports photography of another time, when athletes wore short shorts and facial hair, and everyone looked vaguely uncomfortable. Here is one such photo.

Magic Johnson enjoys those California girls during a May 1985 photo shoot at Manhattan Beach. At the time, Johnson's Lakers were slicing through the Western Conference on their way to a fourth straight appearance in the Finals, and Magic was getting accustomed to life as the one of the biggest fishes in the pond that is Los Angeles. From Bruce Newman's story:

Magic moves smoothly through any kind of crowd, clearly at ease with himself, a star intent on enjoying—and sharing—his privileges. He might show up at a Madonna concert one night—giggling at teenage girls dressed like tarts, while dancing alongside them in the aisles—and catch a concert by saxophonist David Sanborn the next. Magic is as much at ease with friends like Michael Jackson as he is being interviewed by elementary-school children. He intimidates no one. Everywhere he goes, people call out to him as they might to an old friend. "His appeal is universal," says Laker forward-center Mitch Kupchak, "and being able to communicate with everybody is a talent in itself.

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