Photo courtesy: Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.
Airdate | Monday, April 2, 2012
Hometown | Lansing, MI
Birth name | Earvin Johnson
Parents | Christine and Earvin Johnson, Sr.
Why You (Should) Know Him
- He was drafted first overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 and played alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. All 13 years of his NBA career were with the Lakers.
- Johnson and Larry Bird symbolize the Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics rivalry in the 1980s.
- His retired #32 Lakers jersey is still worn by fans across the globe.
- His November 7, 1991 press conference, where he announced testing positive for the HIV virus and his subsequent retirement, was named as ESPN’s seventh most memorable moment of the past 25 years. He is an HIV activist, working under the Magic Johnson Foundation to spread awareness and educate people about the disease. ESPN Films recently aired “The Announcement,” which outlined that event and what followed.
Why He’s Buzzing
- He’s part of Guggenheim Partners, a group that, as of March 27, agreed to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt for a record-shattering $2 billion.
- His rivalry with Boston Celtic Larry Bird is the pulp of the stage production Magic/Bird, which will premiere on March 21, 2012 at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway in New York City.
- ESPN Films’ The Announcement premiered on March 11, 2012. (See trailer below)
- He’s recently linked up with Comcast to launch Aspire, his own 24-hour “inspirational-themed” cable television network. The channel will target African Americans and is scheduled to launch on June 30 of this year.
Magic Johnson Trivia
- He was dubbed “Magic” after he scored 36 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists while playing at Everett High School. He was only 15 years old. Furthermore, his mother thought the nickname was blasphemous.
- The Johnson-Bird rivalry didn’t start with the Lakers and Celtics. The rivalry traces back to the 1979 NCAA finals, when Johnson and Michigan State defeated Bird and the Indiana State ball club. The two men became friends while filming a Converse show advertisement in 1984. Bird inducted Johnson into the Hall of Fame, and Johnson attended Bird’s 1992 retirement ceremony.
- In 1980, he became the first rookie to start in an All-Star game.
- According to his NBA.com biography, his on-court skills “inspired the addition of the term ‘triple-double’ to basketball’s lexicon.” (A triple-double is when a player accrues a double-digit number total in any of three categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots.)
- At 6 ft. 9 in, he is the tallest point guard to play that position in NBA history.
- He hosted his own talk show on Fox called The Magic Hour in 2008.
The Magic Johnson Empire
Under Magic Johnson Enterprises, subsidiaries include: his promotional company, Magic Johnson Productions; Magic Johnson Theaters, a chain of movie theaters around the U.S., his movie studio, Magic Johnson Entertainment; and the Magic Johnson Foundation, a charity that, according to their mission statement, ‘works to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities.’
Selection of Honors
Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2002)
NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
NBA Most Valuable Player (1987, 1989, 1990)
Nine-time All-NBA First Team (1983-1991)
All-NBA Second Team (1982)
All-Star Most Valuable Player (1990, 1992)
Olympic Gold Medalist (1992)
- Magic’s Touch: From Fundamentals to Fast Break with One of Basketball’s All-Time Greats (1992)
- What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS (1996)
ESPN Films: The Announcement Trailer