Coach recalls Johnson, Thomas' 'Magic-al' visit to Alaska
"We went to Barrow, Alaska," recalled professional basketball legends, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Isaiah Thomas.
Yes, they did visit the 49th State early in their careers. Both National Basketball Association (NBA) Hall of Famers recounted their experience after they resolved their feud this week -- after more than two decades.
"Remember those two fighter jets that came up beside us, those two Russian fighter jets? We were like, 'They're going to shoot us down, oh man'", said Johnson.
They arrived safely. But where exactly? The former superstars wondered.
"What kind of place is this? Twenty-three hours, the sun only goes down for an hour! We had to do the camp, we had to do the camp, but, we're going to get the money! We're going to get the money," both men recalled.
They came to Barrow for a summer basketball clinic. Whalers assistant coach Derek Ahgeak attended the camp, which he said happened in either 1982 or '83.
"It was a big deal, most of the town showed up for the event, it was an NBC camp put on by the North Slope Borough," said Ahgeak, who played on Magic's team.
"I talked a lot with Isaiah, and what he said was 'practice, if you think you get distracted during the game, then, you should be practicing that shot'", recalled Ahgeak, who went on to play for UAA thanks to lessons learned from a pair of basketball Hall of Famers.
So while the date may be in question, the visit by "Magic" Johnson and Isaiah Thomas to America's most northern city is not.
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