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For 12 years, Earvin "Magic" Johnson dominated the court as one of America's best basketball players. In 1991, he announced that he had the AIDS virus.
A short biography of Magic Johnson who dominated basketball for 13 years as a player for the L.A. Lakers. In 1991, he announced that he was HIV positive and used his name to raise awareness for the disease.
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Born Earvin Johnson Jr. on August 14, 1959, in Lansing, Michigan, Magic Johnson dominated the court as one of America's best basketball players for 12 years. He retired from the LA Lakers in 1991 after revealing that he had the AIDS virus. He has since then built up a business empire, which includes real estate holdings, several Starbucks franchises, and movie theaters. He is also an author.
Basketball icon Magic Johnson was born Earvin Johnson Jr. on August 14, 1959, in Lansing, Michigan. For 12 years, Johnson dominated the court as one of America's best basketball players. He has since then built up a business empire, which includes real estate holdings, several Starbucks franchises, and movie theaters.
From a large family, Johnson grew up with nine brothers and sisters. Both of his parents worked—his father for the General Motors plant in town and his mother for as a school custodian. He had a passion for basketball, and would start practicing as early as 7:30 a.m. At Everett High School, Johnson earned his famous nickname, "Magic," after a sportswriter witnessed him score 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 16 assists in a single game.
Magic Johnson continued to play in college for Michigan State University. Standing at 6 feet 9 inches tall, he made for an impressive point guard. Johnson excelled during his freshman year, helping his team, the Spartans, clinch the Big Ten Conference title. The following year, he played an important role in taking the Spartans all the way to the NCAA Finals. There they faced off against the Indiana State Sycamores. In one of the most famous match-ups in college basketball history, Johnson went head-to-head with Indiana's star forward, Larry Bird. The Spartans proved victorious, and the Johnson-Bird rivalry would follow the players to their days with the NBA.
Leaving college after two years, Johnson was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. He did well in his first season (1979-80) with the team, averaging 18 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game. Johnson won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award for his efforts in leading the Lakers to a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, winning four of six games in the championship series. The team also included such strong players as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes and Norm Nixon.
During Magic Johnson's third season (1981-82) with the team, the Lakers made the NBA Finals again. For the second time in his pro career, the Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers for the championship title. Additionally, Johnson, who scored 13 points, and made 13 rebounds and 13 assists in Game 6 of the 1982 Finals, earned his second series MVP award. The following season (1982-83) saw the third Finals match-up between the Lakers and the 76ers in four years. This time, however, L.A. was defeated by Philadelphia, losing four consecutive games to the 76ers and winning none during the series.
In the 1984 NBA Finals, Johnson again encountered rival Larry Bird, who had signed with the Boston Celtics.
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As the world becomes increasingly aware of the global impact of AIDS, many important figures have gotten involved in the fight against this deadly disease. Celebrities of all stripes have signed on for the cause, raising money for research, raising awareness, and speaking out for those affected by the virus. Here's our group of celebrity AIDS activists.
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