Revisiting Lakers' 1979 Decison To Take Magic Over Razorback Sidney Moncrief

by Chris Bahn  on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 10:47 am got former Razorback player and UALR coach Sidney Moncrief to reflect on the 1979 draft. He was nearly taken by the LA Lakers over Magic Johnson. (Photo by Waynette Traub)

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Sidney Moncrief scored 11,931 points in the NBA. He was an all-star four times in 11 seasons. It was a nice career for the former Razorback, but hardly could be compared to what Magic Johnson accomplished in going down as one of the great players in NBA history.

Why is this even a conversation? tells us that Moncrief-Magic was a very real debate inside the Los Angeles Lakers’ draft war room in 1979. Writer Jeff Pearlman caught up with Moncrief, the former UALR coach who is now working as an assistant with the Bucks.

Perlman asked Moncrief ‘What if?’

"If you ask me what would have happened had the Lakers taken me, I'll be completely honest," he says. "Maybe we win a championship, but there's no way the Lakers do with me what they did with Magic. That team needed one guy to get everyone to play together, and he was it. There's a reason Magic Johnson goes down as one of the great players. He could do everything."

... Sometimes he thinks back to his greatest days as a Buck. Every so often, his mind even flashes to 1979; to what could have been.

"It's a beautiful thing, how people still remember me here in Milwaukee," he says. "I gave a lot to the Bucks, and this city gave a lot to me. I'm glad the way things worked out, because who knows how it would have worked in Los Angeles?

"Here, in Milwaukee, I belong."

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