Earvin “Magic” Johnson (1959) was a basketball player who led the Lakers to 5 NBA championships. Johnson earned his nickname “Magic” in high school for his creative and entertaining ballhandling. Magic left Michigan State after his sophomore season and was selected by the Lakers with the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft.
He won his first championship in his rookie season and he was the first rookie to win the NBA finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Johnson was also named the league MVP in 1987, 1989, and 1990. He played point guard and brought new versatility to that position, at 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 meters), he was a dangerous scorer from anywhere on the court and a great rebounder, averaging 19.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game over his 13-year career.
Johnson shocked the basketball world On November 7,1991 when he called a press conference to announce his immediate withdrawal because he suffered from HIV.
At the time of his initial retirement, Magic was the NBA’s all-time leader in assists (9.921). He returned to basketball to participate in the 1992 All-Star Game (he won the MVP) and in the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, when he won the gold metal with the “Dream Team”. Later he was the Lakers coach in 1994 and he played a few games in the next season.
After his retirement, Magic created the Magic Johnson Foundation, focused on helping those who carried HIV and he wrote a book called “ What you can do to avoid AIDS”.
Earvin Johnson will always be remembered as one of the best players in basketball history and the battles for league supremacy between Johnson’s Lakers and Bird’s Boston Celtics spurred a new era of fan interest and NBA prosperity.
Santiago de la Peña