By Tommy Matthews

In 2012, former UCLA and Sixers coach Larry Brown told NBA TV the story of Magic Johnson’s 1980 pickup game with Wilt Chamberlain and the clash of egos that played out with it.

According to Brown, Johnson regularly organized and played in pickup games for students and former players. On the night that Chamberlain came to play, the teams worked out so that it was Chamberlain and four UCLA freshmen against Johnson, Bernard King, James Worthy, A. C. Green, and Byron Scott.

Things came down to game point, with Johnson taking the shot and Chamberlain on defense. The retired Laker blocked the shot, but Johnson called “game” and said that Chamberlain was guilty of goaltending, an illegal interference with a ball on its way to the basket. Chamberlain immediately protested, claiming he’d blocked Johnson cleanly. When Johnson tried to move on to the next game, Chamberlain appealed to Brown, who agreed that he’d performed a clean block.

Johnson protested Brown’s ruling, claiming he was biased because his students were on Chamberlain’s team, but he agreed to a rematch to 12 points. Chamberlain vowed to block every shot that came to his basket, and according to Brown, he did. Per Foobas Sports, Chamberlain’s team won the rematch, leaving Johnson to sulk off the court.

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