INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- He wasn't introduced, because he didn't start. Magic Johnson was gone more than four years. The crowd could wait just a bit longer to welcome him back.
Then, with 2:21 gone, he rose from the bench, peeled off his warm-ups and reported to the scorer's table. The fans at the Great Western Forum stood and roared.
No longer was he Magic Johnson, retired victim of the AIDS virus. He was Magic Johnson, running to his position under the basket for a foul shot, lining up next to the Golden State Warriors' Joe Smith.
There he was moments later, a power forward now, and not a point guard. There he was, posting up Smith for a hook shot, missing to the groans of...