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Image for Christian Jope Christian Jope - Published June 29, 2023

How Many Championship Rings Does Magic Johnson Have?

The legendary basketball icon Magic Johnson is one of the NBA's greatest players. Known for his mold-breaking play, singular court vision, and flair on and off the court, Johnson has made an unforgettable impact on basketball and culture.

When discussing who the greatest players in history are, Magic Johnson remains in discussion for the best point guard of all-time, even with the likes of Stephen Curry, John Stockton, and Isiah Thomas finding great success through their careers. Considering his on-court brilliance, we dive into the success that earned Magic Johnson his five NBA Championship rings.

Magic Johnson Championship Rings

Magic Johnson Career Profile, Awards, & Accomplishments

Name: Earvin Johnson Jr.

Position: Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Power Forward

Height: 6-9 (206 cm) 

Weight: 215 lbs (97 kg)

School: Michigan State

Draft: Los Angeles Lakers (1st Pick, 1st Overall, 1979)

  • NBA Champion (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
  • NBA Finals MVP (1980, 1982, 1987)
  • NBA Most Valuable Player (1987, 1989, 1990)
  • NBA All-Star (1980, 1982-92)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (1990, 1992)
  • All-NBA First Team (1983-1991)
  • All-NBA Second Team (1982)
  • NBA All-Rookie Team (1980)
  • NBA Assist Leader (1983, 1984, 1986, 1987)
  • NBA Steals Leader (1981, 1982)

1980: Los Angeles Lakers

League Rank1st (West)1st9th2nd7th1st13th4th1st/1st19th/21st

After an impressive collegiate campaign, Magic Johnson entered the NBA with the new-look Los Angeles Lakers and brought his flair and style to the forefront of the league. While he failed to win the Rookie of the Year award, losing out to eventual rival Larry Bird, Johnson led his Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Playoffs after averaging 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists.

When the Los Angeles Lakers reached the playoffs, Johnson cemented his status as one of the NBA's greatest stars to come, averaging 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 9.4 assists on 51.8% from the field as a 20-year-old first-year player. Johnson closed out his campaign with a 42-points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists Game 6 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers to secure his first championship ring.

1982: Los Angeles Lakers

League Rank1st (West)2nd10th2nd2nd1st3rd5th3rd/2nd23rd/23rd

After being eliminated in the first round of the NBA Playoffs in 1981, a healthy Magic Johnson returned for the 1982 campaign with renewed vigor and an eye on another NBA Championship. After playing just 37 games the previous year, Johnson appeared in 78 games through 1981-82, averaging 18.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 9.5 assists while leading the league in steals with 2.7 per game.

Johnson wasn't the primary scoring force for the Lakers through the 1982 Playoffs and Finals, absorbing the pressure and delegating to experienced teammates Norm Nixon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to take on the scoring load. While not a star in the traditional sense, Johnson's playmaking and ability to involve every teammate won him his second NBA Championship and the position as one of the league's brightest stars.

1985: Los Angeles Lakers

League Rank1st (West)1st7th2nd9th1st11th8th1st/1st6th/7th

After back-to-back NBA Finals losses in 1983 and 1984, the Lakers' big three of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and James Worthy launched another fantastic campaign to push themselves back into the championship picture. After leading the league in assists for consecutive seasons, Johnson took on more of a scoring role while averaging 18.3 points, 12.6 assists, and 6.2 rebounds on 56.1% from the field.

The Lakers cruised through the Western Conference Playoffs, going 11-2 through eliminating the Suns, Trail Blazers, and Nuggets. Most notably, Johnson averaged 17.5 points, 15.2 assists, and 7.1 rebounds en route to their 4-2 revenge against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. It was Johnson's third NBA Championship.

1987: Los Angeles Lakers

League Rank1st (West)1st7th2nd11th1st9th8th2nd/2nd1st/5th

After losing out to the Houston Rockets in the 1986 Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers took steps to remain in the championship picture for the 1987 NBA season. Johnson had the best scoring year of his career while maintaining his overall quality by averaging 23.9 points, 12.2 assists, and 6.3 rebounds on 52.2% from the field. His quality throughout the season earned him his first Most Valuable Player award.

The 1987 Western Conference Playoffs saw Johnson lead his team to an 11-1 record before defeating the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals 4-2. Johnson averaged 21.8 points, 12.2 assists, and 7.7 rebounds per game through the playoffs and NBA Finals. He won his fourth NBA title and his third NBA Finals MVP Award.

1988: Los Angeles Lakers

League Rank1st (West)2nd9th5th11th3rd15th15th2nd/5th16th/9th

While Johnson's star shone brightly for years, 1988 would be his last time being crowned NBA Champion. The incredible pace that Johnson set allowed his teammates to thrive on the court, where he averaged 19.6 points, 11.9 assists, and 6.2 rebounds through 72 games played.

The 1988 post-season was one of Johnson's most rigorous tests, with three of four series going to seven games. In 24 playoff matches, Johnsons averaged 19.9 points, 12.6 assists, and 5.4 rebounds on 51.4% shooting from the field. Johnson claimed his fifth and final NBA Championship ring after defeating rival point guard Isiah Thomas and his Bad Boy Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.

Comparing Magic Johnson's Rings to the winningest players in NBA history

Magic Johnson is, without question, one of the NBA's most successful players. He stands among the best to ever grace a basketball court with five NBA Championship rings and not a single losing regular season record to his name. With championship success varying across generations, Johnson's accolades made him one of the best to play the game.

PlayerNo. of RingsYears WonTeam(s)
Bill Russell111957, 1959-69Boston Celtics
Sam Jones101959-66, 1968-69Boston Celtics
Robert Horry71994-95, 2000-2002, 2005, 2007Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar61971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers
Michael Jordan61991-93, 1996-98Chicago Bulls
Scottie Pippen61991-93, 1996-98Chicago Bulls
Magic Johnson51980, 1982, 1985, 1987-88Los Angeles Lakers
Tim Duncan51999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014San Antonio Spurs
Kobe Bryant52000-02, 2009-10Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James42012-13, 2016, 2020Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers

Magic Johnson's NBA Finals appearances compared to NBA legends

Magic Johnson is one of NBA history's best players, having reached the NBA Finals nine times in his 13-year career. One of the best to ever play the game, Johnson found success when he stepped on an NBA court. While his success rate in the NBA Finals may not be as great as some of his peers, his five championship rings speak for themselves.

PlayerFinals AppearancesYearTeam(s)
Bill Russell121957, 1959-66, 1968-69Boston Celtics
Sam Jones111958-1966, 1968-1969Boston Celtics
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar101971, 1974, 1980, 1982-1989Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James102007, 2011-2014, 2015-2018, 2020Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers

Tom Heinsohn



Boston Celtics

Magic Johnson


1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991

Los Angeles Lakers
Jerry West9

1962-1966, 1968-1970

Los Angeles Lakers

Frank Ramsey



Boston Celtics
K. C. Jones81959-1966Boston Celtics
John Havlicek81963-1966, 1968-1969, 1974, 1976Boston Celtics
Bob Cousy71957-1963Boston Celtics
Robert Horry71994-1995, 2000-2002, 2005-2007Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs
Kobe Bryant72000-2002 2004, 2008-2010Los Angeles Lakers
James Worthy61984-1985, 1987-1989, 1991Los Angeles Lakers 
Michael Jordan61991-1993, 1996-1998Chicago Bulls
Scottie Pippen61991-1993, 1996-1998Chicago Bulls
Shaquille O'Neal61995, 2000-2002, 2004, 2006Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat
Tim Duncan61999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2014San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker52003, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2014San Antonio Spurs
Larry Bird51981, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987Boston Celtics

Magic Johnson Championship Rings FAQs

How many NBA Championship Rings does Magic Johnson have compared to Larry Bird?

Throughout his career, Magic Johnson won 5 NBA Championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers. Larry Bird, on the other hand, won 3 NBA Championship rings with the Boston Celtics. Facing each other three times in the NBA Finals, Johnson had the edge over Bird in their rivalry by winning two of their three Finals matchups.

Should Magic Johnson have won more NBA Championships?

Magic Johnson has five NBA Championships to his name but also has four NBA Finals series losses. In those four Finals losses, the winners were the Sixers, Celtics, Pistons, and Bulls - getting swept by the Sixers and Pistons while earning just one win against the Bulls. While the Lakers were competitive, they were outmatched in those series.Due to Johnson's retirement due to his HIV diagnosis, it could be said that his career and prospects at other championships were cut short. Retiring in 1991 and only returning for 32 games in 1996, Johnson had the potential to continue his impressive run championship-level play had he not suffered such a diagnosis.

How does Magic Johnson's championship count compare to his fellow NBA stars?

Magic Johnson's championship count of five NBA Championships places him among the elite NBA stars of his era. During the 1980s, often called the "Magic-Bird Era," several notable players still found success. Here's a comparison of championship counts for some of the prominent NBA stars from that era:Larry Bird: Larry Bird won three NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics (1981, 1984, and 1986).Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won five NBA Championships during the 1980s, all with the Los Angeles Lakers (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988). Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson shared their success and accomplishments as teammates.Isiah Thomas: won two NBA Championships with the Detroit Pistons (1989 and 1990).Regarding championship count, Magic Johnson's five championships place him among the top winners of his era. His success with the Lakers and his pivotal role in the team's dominance during the 1980s cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA.

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Christian Jope

1130 Articles

Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.

Email: [email protected]

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