1991–92 Los Angeles Lakers season

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1991–92 Los Angeles Lakers season
Magic retires
Head coach Mike Dunleavy
Owner(s) Jerry Buss
Arena Great Western Forum
Results
Record 43–39 (.524)
Place Division: 6th (Pacific)
Conference: 8th (Western)
Playoff finish West First Round
(eliminated 1–3)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television Prime Ticket, KCAL
Radio AM 570 KLAC
< 1990–91 1992–93 >

The 1991–92 season was the start of a new era for the Los Angeles Lakers, as they had to cope with the sudden retirement of their longtime superstar, Magic Johnson, due to an HIV infection.[1] Without Johnson for the first time since 1979, the Lakers struggled to make the playoffs, as they finished with their worst record since the 1975–76 season.[2] An eighth-seed, the Lakers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs in four games by the Portland Trail Blazers.[3]

Draft picks[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
2 52 Anthony Jones Forward  United States Oral Roberts

Roster[edit]

Los Angeles Lakers 1991-92 roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. From
4.0 !F 6 USA !United States Brown, Chucky 79 !6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 214 lb (97 kg) North Carolina State
1.5 !G 7 USA !United States Calip, Demetrius (waived) 73 !6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 165 lb (75 kg) Michigan
6.0 !C 12 YUG !Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Divac, Vlade 85 !7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) 243 lb (110 kg)
5.5 !F/C 45 USA !United States Green, A. C. 81 !6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Oregon State
5.5 !F/C 54 USA !United States Haley, Jack 82 !6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 240 lb (109 kg) UCLA
4.0 !F 25 USA !United States Owens, Keith 79 !6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 225 lb (102 kg) UCLA
5.5 !F/C 14 USA !United States Perkins, Sam 81 !6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) North Carolina
4.0 !F 43 USA !United States Robinson, Clifford T. 81 !6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Southern California
1.5 !G 4 USA !United States Scott, Byron 75 !6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Arizona State
1.5 !G 34 USA !United States Smith, Tony 75 !6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Marquette
1.5 !G 2 USA !United States Sparrow, Rory 74 !6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Villanova
2.5 !G/F 20 USA !United States Teagle, Terry 77 !6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Baylor
1.5 !G 3 USA !United States Threatt, Sedale 74 !6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 175 lb (79 kg) West Virginia Tech
4.0 !F 42 USA !United States Worthy, James 81 !6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 225 lb (102 kg) North Carolina
Head coach




Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Regular season[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Portland Trail Blazers 57 25 .695 33-8 24-17 21-9
x-Golden State Warriors 55 27 .671 2 31-10 24-17 19-11
x-Phoenix Suns 53 29 .646 4 36-5 17-24 17-13
x-Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 10 28-13 19-22 16-14
x-Los Angeles Clippers 45 37 .549 12 29-12 16-25 13-17
x-Los Angeles Lakers 43 39 .578 14 24-17 19-22 13-17
Sacramento Kings 29 53 .354 28 21-20 8-33 6-24
y - clinched division title
x - clinched playoff spot
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Portland Trail Blazers 57 25 .695
2 y-Utah Jazz 55 27 .671 2
3 x-Golden State Warriors 55 27 .671 2
4 x-Phoenix Suns 53 29 .646 4
5 x-San Antonio Spurs 47 35 .573 10
6 x-Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 10
7 x-Los Angeles Clippers 45 37 .549 12
8 x-Los Angeles Lakers 43 39 .524 14
9 Houston Rockets 42 40 .512 15
10 Sacramento Kings 29 53 .354 28
11 Denver Nuggets 24 58 .293 33
12 Dallas Mavericks 22 60 .268 35
13 Minnesota Timberwolves 15 67 .183 42
z - clinched division title
y - clinched division title
x - clinched playoff spot

Game log[edit]

Playoffs[edit]

West First Round[edit]

(1) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (8) Los Angeles Lakers: Blazers win series 3–1

Last Playoff Meeting: 1991 Western Conference Finals (Los Angeles won 4-2)

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game

Season[edit]

Player GP REB AST STL BLK PTS AVG
Vlade Divac 36 247 60 55 35 405 11.3
A. C. Green 82 762 117 91 36 1116 13.6

Playoffs[edit]

Magic’s Retirement[edit]

In the 1991-92 NBA season, Johnson missed the first three games with an unspecified "stomach ailment". On November 7, 1991, Johnson made the shocking announcement that he was infected with HIV and would immediately retire.[1] Johnson discovered his condition when he tried to obtain life insurance and had failed the compulsory HIV test conducted by Lakers team doctor. Johnson gave a grave but defiant statement, stating he was happy that both his wife Cookie and her unborn child were HIV negative and that he was going to dedicate his life to spread the word about HIV prevention and promote safer sex. The NBA world was in shock, and even U. S. president George H. W. Bush mourned: "For me, Magic is a hero, a hero for anyone who loves sports."[4] Johnson immediately was listed as an injured reserve on the roster, but due to his valid contract, he continued to be paid by the Lakers franchise.

Nonetheless, Johnson was still voted into the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, and the press speculated whether he was going to make a comeback. Moreover, many colleagues were wary: as HIV can be transmitted by blood contamination, they argued that Johnson would be a deadly risk if he would get a bleeding wound and touch them. One of the most vocal opponents was Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone.[5] Johnson won the skeptics over and made a triumphant return, leading the West to a 153-113 win and being crowned All-Star MVP. The game was also a curiosity, ending prematurely when he drained a last-minute three-pointer and his colleagues refused to play further, instead running collectively on court, hugging him and exchanging high-fives. However, it remained Johnson's last NBA game until his brief return at the end of the 1995–96 season.[6]

Magic and the Dream Team[edit]

Despite being HIV positive, Johnson was chosen for the US team for the 1992 Summer Olympics. The squad was quickly dubbed the Dream Team because of its abundance of NBA stars such as Jordan, Karl Malone and Bird, but Johnson was the main attraction. At the Olympic Opening Ceremony, German tennis player Steffi Graf ordered colleague Barbara Rittner to photograph her with Johnson, and in the match against Spain, Spanish captain Juan Antonio San Epifanio and his squad demonstratively hugged him, showing that his HIV infection did not matter to them. During the tournament, Johnson struggled with knee problems and played for only a fraction of the games. The point guard position was mostly run by Utah Jazz all-time assist leader John Stockton, but Johnson's presence alone was enough to provoke standing ovations from the crowd. He used the spotlight to attempt to inspire HIV positive people in several interviews.

Awards and Records[edit]

Transactions[edit]

References[edit]