Coming Soon: The 1980s Western Conference Bridesmaids

Been watching a lot of Hardwood Classics recently, and it got me thinking of what happened to all those Western Conference Finals teams that Magic Johnson and the Lakers beat on their way to eight NBA Finals between 1980 and 1989. The only team to best Magic and friends in the entire decade was the ’86 Rockets.

Michael Jordan and the Bulls faced five different Finals opponents for their six championships because after 1991, Magic was no longer there to serve as gatekeeper. What if the ’80s had been that wide open? Who would Larry Bird and Julius Erving and Isiah Thomas have had to contend with if not Magic and the Lakers?

Starting this Saturday, January 14, and running through the next few weekends (including a MLK Special on Monday), let’s look at the eight teams that played the role of Washington Generals to Magic and Kareem’s Harlem Globetrotters and wonder what might have been had the Western Conference been as wide open as it was in the ’70s and would again be in the ’90s.

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading! Yes, my job has eaten my life. Thanks for noticing.