That new Magic-and-Larry promo for the Lakers-Celtics Finals got me thinking about some of the great Magic Johnson commercials from the 80s and early 90s. Those ads did more than just brainwash us into mindless consumerism; they taught us things, too. Like the fact that spicy chicken can give you superpowers and diet soft drinks are best enjoyed while wearing a tuxedo.
The commercial Magic teaches some white kid how to hit a reverse layup and then does a magic trick.
The lesson: That it's possible, even for America's goofy white youth, to learn Magic Johnson's signature moves on the first try. Also, that all it takes is a towel and Magic's crotch to transform a basketball into a bottle of 7-up.
Update! Basketbawful reader Five Pound Bag has informed me that the goofy blond dude in Magic's 7-up commercial was actually Ann Meyers, one of the most notorious serial killers of...wait, sorry, that was Michael Meyers. Ann Meyers was one of the greatest female basketball players of all time. She was so good that she actually signed a contract with the Indiana Pacers in 1980 (seriously). So, you know, my bad. But you have to admit, she was very mannish in that video.
The commercial: Magic Johnson hangs out with some kids and tells them: "Don't foul out, say no to drugs."
The lesson: That -- with apologies to Josh Howard -- drugs are bad. Very, very bad. However, the subtext is that having promiscuous sex with many anonymous partners without protection isn't just okay, it's freaking awesome. (Right up until you contract a deadly STD, anyway.)
The commercial: Several people, including Magic Johnson, drink Diet Pepsi in what one presumes is their "natural environment."
The lesson: That anybody -- regardless of race, creed, or social standing -- can enjoy the cool, refreshing, calorie-free deliciousness of Diet Pepsi. Even if it does taste like ice-cold ass. Also, that Magic's "natural environment" is suspended from a backboard while wearing a tuxedo.
The commercial: Magic plays some pickup ball before rehydrating with some Slice.
The lesson: That Gatorade is for sissies (or it was in 1990). Nothing restores complex carbohydrates and electrolytes quite like a can of vaguely orange-flavored soda. Also, Magic isn't above using his basketball powers in petty, frivolous ways to amaze young children who barely recognize him.
The commercial: Magic Johnson selfishly eats an entire bucket of chicken at a pickup game. Then breaths fire.
The lesson: That running into Magic Johnson at a dreary, local gym is less exciting than the prospect of sharing greasy, deep-fried chunks of slaughtered farm animals with him. Additionally, pyrotechnics are the best way to get people to back the hell off when you're eating. Oh, and (as karma pointed out) black men like to play basketball and eat fried chicken...who knew?