- NAME: Magic Johnson
- OCCUPATION: Basketball Player, Entrepreneur
- BIRTH DATE: August 14, 1959 (Age: 54)
- Did You Know?: Magic Johnson's rivalry with fellow basketball legend Larry Bird began when the two attended college and lasted throughout their time in the NBA.
- EDUCATION: Everett High School, Michigan State University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Lansing, Michigan
- Full Name: Earvin Johnson Jr.
- AKA: Earvin Johnson
- AKA: Magic Johnson
- ZODIAC SIGN: Leo
Best Known For
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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This was the first of several match-ups between the two teams. The Celtics beat the Lakers in a tight competition—four games to three—for the 1984 championship. The Lakers, however, took down the Celtics the following year in the finals.
Johnson and his team continued to be one of the NBA's top competitors throughout the rest of the 1980s. In the 1987 NBA Finals, they again defeated the Boston Celtics,
and Johnson received the NBA Finals MVP Award for the third and final time in his career. This remarkable season marked Johnson's personal best in terms of average points per game, with an incredible 23.9. Additionally, in 1987, he received his first NBA MVP award for his performance on the court—an honor he would receive again in 1989 and 1990.
In November 1991, Magic Johnson retired from the Lakers after revealing that he had the AIDS virus, which he believed he contracted through unprotected sexual activity. The AIDS diagnosis was especially hard for Johnson. At the time he learned he had the disease, his wife Cookie was pregnant with their first child. Both his wife and son, Earvin III, turned out to not have HIV.
At the time, many people thought the virus mostly affected homosexuals or intravenous drug users. There was also a lot of fear and confusion regarding how the disease could be transmitted. Johnson's decision to go public with his medical condition helped raise awareness about the disease. He established the Magic Johnson Foundation to support HIV/AIDS research efforts and awareness programs that same year. In 1992, he wrote the educational guide What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS.
Undeterred, Johnson played in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Along with Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, he was part of the American "Dream Team" that won the gold medal. He hoped to return to professional basketball for the next season, but he dropped that plan after protests from other players who were concerned about competing against an AIDS-infected competitor.
Magic Johnson explored other options after leaving basketball. In 1992, he had his latest book, My Life, published. Johnson had previously written two books about himself and the game, 1983's Magic and 1989's Magic's Touch. He also appeared on television as a sports commentator. During the 1993-1994 basketball season, Johnson tried his hand at coaching with the Lakers. He then bought a small share of the team.
In 1996, staging a brief comeback, Johnson returned for a few months to the Lakers as a player. He finally retired for good that same year, leaving behind an impressive legacy. Over his long career, Johnson scored 17,707 points and made 10,141 assists, 6,559 rebounds and 1,824 steals. He also became the all-time leader in NBA assists per game, with an average of 11.2—a title that he continues to hold today. Johnson was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Just as he had dominated the courts, Johnson became a powerful force in business.
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