Magic Johnson: Interesting Facts About This Legendary Basketball Player

Magic Johnson, a former American professional basketball player who is regarded as one of the game’s all-time greats, is still active today. For 13 seasons, he was a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is a tall, well-built man who is renowned for his strong arms, agility, and quickness.

During the 1980s, these attributes helped him become one of the most threatening players in the world. Magic Johnson, who had many siblings and grew up in a large family, fell in love with basketball at a young age. Despite not being a professional, his father was an athletic man who had participated in basketball throughout his high school years.

His mother supported him in his enthusiasm for the sport. He showed he was a great athlete while competing for the Everett High School team. He concluded his high school career with two All-State nominations, and at the time, he was regarded as the best high school athlete to ever come out of Michigan.

He continued playing the sport while attending Michigan State University to further his education. He was signed by the Los Angeles Lakers after college, where he played his whole career. He was identified as HIV-positive and is well-known for his charitable and HIV awareness endeavors.

magic johnson
Magic Johnson

Who is Magic Johnson?

In Lansing, Michigan, on August 14, 1959, Earvin Johnson Jr. was born. Johnson was raised in a big family with nine brothers and sisters. His mother worked as a school custodian and his father for the local General Motors plant. He loved basketball and would practice as early as 7:30 in the morning.

Johnson received the moniker “Magic” at Everett High School after a sportswriter saw him rack up 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 16 assists in a single game.

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Magic Johnson’s Career

Johnson kept on playing for Michigan State University throughout college. His height of 6 feet 9 inches made him a commanding point guard. Johnson performed admirably in his first year, aiding his group in winning the Big Ten Conference.

He was crucial in helping the Spartans advance all the way to the NCAA Finals the following season. They competed against the Indiana State Sycamores there. Johnson faced off against Larry Bird, the standout forward for Indiana, in one of the most well-known games in the annals of collegiate basketball. The Spartans came out on top, and the Johnson-Bird rivalry would persist throughout the players’ NBA careers.

Johnson left school after two years and was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. Averaging 18 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game in his debut season (1979–80) with the team, he fared well.

As a result of his efforts in helping the Lakers defeat the Philadelphia 76ers by winning four out of six games in the NBA Finals, Johnson has been named the series Most Valuable Player. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, and Norm Nixon were other key members of the team.

The Lakers once more reached the NBA Finals in Johnson’s third season (1981–1982) with the group. The Lakers won the championship by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers for the second time in his professional career.

Johnson also won his second series MVP award for his 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 13 assists in Game 6 of the 1982 Finals. The Lakers and 76ers met in the Finals for the third time in four years during the next season (1982–1983).

This time, though, Philadelphia triumphed against Los Angeles, who dropped all seven games of the series to the 76ers and lost four in a row.

Despite his setbacks, Johnson participated in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. He was a member of the American “Dream Team,” which also included Michael Jordan and Bird, and which took home the gold medal.

He intended to play professional basketball again the next year, but he abandoned that idea due to the worries of other players who didn’t want to share the court with an HIV-positive opponent.

After quitting basketball, Johnson looked into other possibilities. My Life, his most recent book, was published in 1992. Magic from 1983 and Magic’s Touch from 1989 were two books Johnson had previously written about himself and the game.

He also provided sports commentary on television. Johnson gave coaching a go with the Lakers during the 1993–1994 basketball season. Later, he bought a tiny portion of the squad.

Johnson made a brief comeback in 1996 and played for the Lakers again for a short while. That same year, he ultimately announced his permanent retirement and left behind a lasting legacy.

Johnson rose to prominence in business in much the same way as he had in the courts. He founded Magic Johnson Enterprises, a holding company with a wide range of interests.

His initiatives have largely been directed at metropolitan area development, including the introduction of Starbucks coffee shops and movie theaters into underprivileged neighborhoods. With the publication of his book 32 Ways to be a Champion in Business in 2008, he revealed his success secrets.

When the Game Was Ours, a 2009 book that examines their rivalry, their experiences on the court, and the sport they both love, was written by Johnson and his old opponent Bird. He was admitted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame that same year.

Johnson joined an ownership group that acquired the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team in 2012 after selling his Lakers ownership position in 2010. Additionally, he started owning a portion of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and the minor league Dayton Dragons.

Early in 2017, Johnson officially rejoined the Lakers as president of basketball operations. LeBron James’ signing in July 2018 caused a stir, however, he quickly left his position at the conclusion of the NBA season in 2018–2019.

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Magic Johnson’s Personal Life

In 1992, Johnson gave birth to Earvin III. Elisa, who was adopted by Johnson and his wife Cookie in 1995, is another child they have. From an earlier union, he also has a son named Andre Johnson.

magic johnson
Cookie And Johnson

The Conflict Between Magic Johnson And Larry Bird

Johnson faced off against rival Bird, who had joined the Boston Celtics, in the 1984 NBA Finals. The first of many games between the two teams was this one. For the 1984 title, the Celtics narrowly defeated the Lakers, four games to three. But in the following season’s Finals, the Lakers defeated the Celtics.

For the remainder of the 1980s, Johnson and his group remained among the NBA’s top challengers. Johnson won the NBA Finals MVP Award for the third and last time in his career after they defeated the Boston Celtics in the 1987 NBA Finals. Johnson won his first regular-season NBA MVP title that year after averaging a career-high 23.9 points per game, an accolade he would later win in 1989 and 1990.

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Diagnosis of HIV

After admitting to having HIV, the infection that causes AIDS, Johnson left the Lakers in November 1991. He thought unprotected sexual intercourse was the source of his sickness.

Johnson struggled particularly with the diagnosis. His wife Cookie was carrying their first child when he found out he had the illness. Fortunately, HIV testing came up negative for both his wife and their kid, Earvin III.

Many people at the time believed that intravenous drug users or homosexuals were the virus’ primary targets. Concerns about how the illness might spread also caused a great deal of worry and confusion.

Johnson’s choice to disclose his illness has aided in bringing attention to the ailment. In order to fund HIV/AIDS research initiatives and awareness campaigns, he formed the Magic Johnson Foundation. The educational manual What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS was written by him in 1992.

magic johnson
Magic Johnson

Statistics

Johnson amassed 17,707 points during the course of his lengthy career, along with 10,141 assists, 6,559 rebounds, and 1,724 steals. With an average of 11.2 assists per game, he also became the all-time leader in the NBA, a record he still holds today.

In 1996, Johnson was selected as one of the top 50 NBA players ever, and in 2002, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Magic Johnson’s Net Worth

As of 2022, Magic Johnson is thought to have a net worth of $650 million.

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