ESS: For years, I worshipped at the alter of the four-ish Magic Johnson fastbreak passes that were replayed again and again. Your video revealed how much I’d been missing. Prior to making this, did it bother you that our collective picture of his greatness was so incomplete?
NPZ: It did. We all have seen the same 30 or so Magic highlights over and over, even from NBA-produced vids. Here’s the thing with Magic, though. These clips were culled from about 75 games give or take. I knew some plays that I wanted to put in there for sure, but one could take any 75 game sample and come up with a different batch of highlights of the same basic quality. His routine stuff was the nightly highlight for many reputed passers who came after him.
So many of the all-time greats seem to get boiled down into 20-30 plays that many of us then interpret as being the coolest 20-30 things they'd ever done, with nothing but the semi-routine to fill in everything else. I used to assume the same thing. I can picture the four or so passes the interviewer is referencing (one being the no-look, ball-on-a-platter shuffle). I figured, if ESPN doesn't have their hands on deeper, cooler footage, then there must not be any deeper or cooler footage out there. This 15 minute Magic highlight clip is a great example of how many pieces and memories of player's games we may be missing out on.