I have two:
If only Magic had known enough to stay retired after that.
If he’d known more, he wouldn’t have retired in the first place.
Still, he should have stayed retired. His comeback in 1995 was hardly successful, nor was his stint as coach in 1994. He retired after 1995 but then said he would come back again after the Lakers signed Shaq. The Lakers then told him quietly to change his mind.
Can’t blame ball players for not wanting to let go. I don’t like all this shoulda coulda woulda crap. It’s their life and it’s difficult to know when to hang it up.
John McEnroe has suggested he retired too early, looking at people like Federer today.
A clunky final year or two doesn’t erase a legendary career, except to drama-hungry armchair quarterbacks.
I can see your point in general, but with Magic Johnson the circumstances are a bit unique.
Magic Johnson retired after testing for the HIV virus. He later planned to come back and play about sixty games during the 1992- 1993 season, and at that point in time I think your comments applied 100%, He changed his mind after other players objected. It is from that point-on that I was referring to.
Johnson was named as the interim coach of the Lakers in the 1993-1994 season and was a flop. As was reported, he thought he was still better than most of the team. Then, two seasons later he joined the Lakers in the middle of the season as an active player, and that did not go well either. I remember that time. On one hand Johnson was criticizing Cedric Ceballos for complaining about his playing time and not being all in on the team, then later Johnson was complaining himself and also got tossed out of a game.
I also recall later on, after some time had passed, when Johnson said that the Lakers had a pretty close-knit group that had adjusted to each other and settled into its routines, and Johnson disrupted that when he joined the team.
That is what I was referring to when I said that Magic Johnson should have stayed retired. In hindsight he probably would have been happier than he was playing after coming back.