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Magic Johnson: 'Michael Jackson made me a better point guard'

Basketball stars Johnson and Kobe Bryant honour the pop star

Pic: PA Photos
Basketball stars Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant paid tribute to Michael Jackson at his memorial service in Los Angeles this morning (July 7).

Taking the stage together, the Los Angeles Lakers stars spoke of how Jackson inspired them to be better players. Johnson, who was friend of the Jackson family, said that Michael "made me a better point guard and a better player as I watched him perform".

Johnson recalled how he was in a state of disbelief when Jackson called and asked him to appear in his video for 1992 single 'Remember The Time'. The athlete said he initially didn't believe it was Jackson on the phone.

"He was my idol, he was everything to me," Johnson said. "This is a celebration of his life and legacy. He opened doors for us."

Bryant focused on Jackson's philanthropic work, saying he was one of the most generous people he had ever known. "Michael cared deeply for those in need," he said. "He broke Guinness World Records for most charities supported by a pop star."

Stay tuned to NME.COM for live updates throughout Jackson's memorial service.

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Click to see a gallery of images from the memorial here.

--By our Los Angeles staff.
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