Magic Johnson Analysis Essay

Birth date:
August 14, 1959
Birth place: Lansing, Michigan
Birth name: Earvin Johnson Jr.
Father: Earvin Johnson Sr., an autoworker
Mother: Christine Johnson, a school custodian
Marriage: Earlitha "Cookie" (Kelly) Johnson (1991-present)
Children: with Cookie Johnson: Elisa and Earvin III; with Melissa Mitchell: Andre
Education: Attended Michigan State University, 1977-1979
Other Facts:
Johnson is 6'9" tall.
The rivalry with Larry Bird, another NBA superstar, began in college. They became friends while shooting a Converse shoe commercial in 1984.
Helped the Lakers win five NBA championships: 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988.
Was the NBA Most Valuable Player three times: 1987, 1989 and 1990.
Has explained that the way he contracted HIV was through sexual encounters with multiple female partners in the 1980s.
He is CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, which owns radio stations, movie theaters, magazines, real estate, a cable network, sports teams, and invests in corporate partnerships.
Johnson is also the chairman and CEO of the Magic Johnson Foundation, which was created to assist in the fight against HIV/AIDS through awareness, prevention and education.
1974 -
Earns the nickname "Magic" after a game his sophomore year of high school, in which he scores 36 points, 18 rebounds and 16 assists. Lansing State Journal sportswriter Fred Stabley Jr. is the first to call him Magic.
1975-1977 - Is named to the All-State team and leads his team to a state championship. He is heavily recruited by college basketball programs nationwide and chooses Michigan State University in East Lansing.
1978 - The Michigan State Spartans win the Big Ten Championship.
March 26, 1979 - MSU wins its first NCAA Championship. The Spartans defeat Larry Bird and the Indiana State University Sycamores, 75-64. Johnson is named MVP.
1979 - Johnson leaves Michigan State to turn pro. He is the NBA first overall draft pick and is selected by the Los Angeles Lakers.
1980 - At 20 years old, Johnson is the youngest and the first rookie named the NBA Finals MVP. The Lakers win 4-2 over the Philadelphia 76ers.
1982 - Is named Finals MVP after a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
1986 - UCLA hosts the first annual Midsummer Night's Magic All-Star charity basketball game. Players include Bird, Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan.
1987 - Is named Finals MVP after a 4-2 win over Bird and the Boston Celtics. He is also named League MVP.
1987 - Magic Johnson Enterprises is founded. Johnson is the chairman and CEO.
1988 - Johnson's fifth NBA championship is the Lakers second championship win in two years, a 4-3 win over the Detroit Pistons.
November 7, 1991 - In a nationally televised press conference Johnson announces he is HIV positive and is retiring from the Lakers effective immediately.
November 1991 - Establishes the Magic Johnson Foundation.
February 9, 1992 - Voted to the NBA All-Star game for the Western Conference by fans even though he had not played in a game that season. Is named MVP, with 25 points, three three-pointers, nine assists and five rebounds; the West beats the East 153-113.
February 16, 1992 - The Lakers officially retire his number 32 jersey.
August 8, 1992 - The US Olympic basketball "Dream Team," the first US Olympic team to include NBA players, wins the gold medal, beating Croatia 117-85 in the final game.
September 29, 1992 - Announces he will come out of retirement and play in the 1992-1993 season for the Lakers.
November 2, 1992 - Announceshe is again retiring from basketball, due to the many NBA players voicing concern over possible health risks associated with such a high contact sport and Magic's HIV status.
November 3, 1992 - Publishes his autobiography, "My Life."
March 23, 1993-April 24, 1994 - Head coach of the Lakers.
June 27, 1994 - Becomes 5% owner of the Lakers.
January 30, 1996 - Returns again to play for the Lakers. In his first game, the Lakers defeat the Golden State Warriors 128-118. NBA rules prohibit players from owning a team. Prior to his return, Johnson sells his interest in the team.
May 14, 1996 - Third, and final NBA retirement: "I am going out on my terms..."
October 1996 - Buys back the minority share of the team he sold to majority owner Jerry Buss earlier in the year.
September 27, 2002 - Is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Larry Bird introduces him.
November 4, 2009 - Releases"When the Game Was Ours," a book co-authored with Bird.
March 6, 2010 - HBO debuts the documentary, "Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals," about the relationship between Johnson and Bird on and off the court.
October 2010 - Sells his shares of the Lakers.
March 2012 - Along with the Guggenheim Partners, Johnson wins a bidding war to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.15 billion.
April 11-May 12, 2012 - The play "Magic/Bird," the story of the rivalry and friendship of Johnson and Bird, runs on Broadway.
June 2012 - Launches a new cable television network, Aspire.
February 5, 2014 - WNBA announces Johnson and a group of investors are purchasing franchise Los Angeles Sparks.
March 2016 - Ranks 10th on Forbes' 2016 list of The Highest-Paid Retired Athletes with estimated earnings of $18 million in 2015.
February 21, 2017 - Johnson is named as the Lakers' president of basketball operations, as part of a restructuring plan. He will step away from his role at ESPN, where he was on the show "NBA Countdown."
Earvin 'Magic' Johnson


Earvin "Magic" Johnson, the bestselling author of My Life, is universally known for his illustrious 13-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, where this “big player with the big heart” changed the way the game is played. He has brought that same hard work, dedication and generosity to his life as a businessman and philanthropist -- with equally magic results.

On the court, Johnson is unrivaled. His physical domination, unselfish no-look passes, and ability to assist and steal were apparent from his first games in Lansing, Michigan, where he first earned his nickname. The tallest point guard in NBA history, he led five teams to the championships, was a 12-time All-Star, and won a gold medal with the original Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. In 2002, the player that his friend and fellow great Larry Bird called “head and shoulders above everybody else” was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In 1991, Johnson made an announcement that stunned the world. He had tested positive for HIV, and would retire immediately on doctor’s orders. But Johnson wasn’t done yet – either on or off the court. He went on a triumphant appearance at the All-Star Game that season, earning the game's MVP Award and leading the West to a 153-113 victory. The game ended with 14 seconds to go as the other All-Stars, including Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan, abandoned the ball and swarmed Magic to show their ongoing love and support. As he says in My Life, “Game called on account of hugs.” A 1995 comeback made it clear that his retirement from basketball, like everything else in Earvin Johnson’s life, would take place only on his terms.

The basketball career of the century would have been more than enough for most people, but Johnson seized his retirement as an opportunity to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a successful businessman. It is this second act that led Fortune Magazine to vote him one of their Most Powerful Black Executives. In 1991, Johnson founded a development company to bring entertainment and services to underserved inner-city communities. These ventures, which include housing, fitness centers, movie theatres, restaurants, and coffee shops, in neighborhoods previously characterized by blight and crime, have confounded expectations. Not only are these viable businesses – top grossers in their chains, in some cases -- but they have become vital, integrated community centers, critical players in the revitalization of these long-neglected neighborhoods.

Furthermore, Johnson’s company creates a legacy of success for the minority community by acting as a breeding ground for the next generation of black executives -- presidents, vice-presidents, managers, and business owners. Every success story proves his belief that anyone and everyone can achieve if they’re given the opportunity and the skills.

Johnson isn’t new to philanthropy – he has always been generous with his time, money, and his celebrity. Immediately after his diagnosis with HIV in 1991, he founded the Magic Johnson Foundation for AIDS education, prevention and research. The Foundation has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to build state-of-the-art clinics and provide grants to community-based organizations, especially those that focus on health initiatives for youth, women, and people of color. Johnson also wrote What You Can Do To Avoid AIDS, a book explaining and promoting safe sex. Perhaps most importantly, he became the unofficial spokesperson for people living with HIV/AIDS, giving a human face to the disease and significantly lifting the stigma and discrimination that too often accompanies it.

In 1997, the Magic Johnson Foundation further broadened its focus “to identify and support community-based organizations that address the education, health, and social needs of children, young adults, and inner-city communities throughout the nation.” It now gives scholarships, organizes mentoring and internship programs, as well as sponsoring job and health fairs. The Magic Johnson Foundation is also working to close the digital divide by building technology centers that give people in low-income areas access to technology. Most recently, the Foundation partnered with drugstores and supermarkets to fill prescriptions and provide groceries for people evacuated from Hurricane Katrina, and Johnson has pledged to find jobs for many of the displaced.

Along with his business and philanthropic concerns, Johnson is a devoted husband to his wife Cookie, and an active and involved father to his three children, Andre, Earvin Jr., and Elisa, and he continues to credit his parents with his success. As an athlete, he was known for his effortless leadership, optimistic attitude, balance, and tireless dedication; he has brought these same qualities to his vocations as a businessman, philanthropist, husband, son, and father, and it is a great honor for us that this legend has agreed to participate in the My Hero Project.

Page created on 11/24/2007 3:18:36 PM

Last edited 1/4/2017 10:33:41 PM

Extra Info

Here are some entries from our guests
about their hero, Earvin "Magic" Johnson:

Jacque from Leawood, KS wrote:
On and off the court, Magic Johnson has been a hero throughout his life, and has excelled in everything that he has put his mind to: whether it be basketball, school, or helping out others.

Arevig Gevrkian from Studio City, CA wrote:
Magic Johnson is my hero because he was a unique athlete who changed the sport of basketball. Magic later found out he had the deadly disease known as AIDS, and now he raises funds for HIV/AIDS education and prevention.Kaikane from Pukalani, HI wrote:
Earvin “Magic” Johnson is a man that deserves respect both on and off the basketball court. He was a leader both to his teammates and the fans that admired him. Most can only wish that they could watch Magic play and dominate his opponents with his superb passing skills and abilities to play both offense and defense. He defied many odds through his battle with HIV while still being able to have an unforgettable career along with well-deserved accomplishments that he can be proud of. Magic Johnson, in my eyes, is definitely one of the greatest basketball players the game has ever seen.

Nicholas Ward from Brooklyn Park, MN:
Magic is a good man and a role model. He is a great basketball player. He thinks about other people more than himself. He is a survivor, because he had AIDS for a long time and he is still surviving with it. Magic is also a hero: he talked to younger children about his problem with AIDS and he told them to try not to get it.Cody Mounts from Wheatfield, IN wrote:
Magic Johnson is my hero because he was devoted to basketball, like I am. He could have gone to the NBA after high school but he decided to go to college. It was a hard choice but he went to Michigan State. After two years of college he decided to go to the NBA. There will never be another like him. Daniel from San Jose, CA wrote:
Magic Johnson is my hero because he has done various good things to help the needy... those who are in need financially or emotionally. Even though he has the HIV virus I think he is so strong. He has organized so many organizations that help kids with the AIDS virus. Angel from Austin, TX wrote:
Magic Johnson is my hero because he is a very good basketball player and also a very good man! Robbie from Cheyenne, WY wrote:
Magic Johnson inspires us all because of his great deeds. He has already donated thousands of dollars to the victims of Katrina. Magic Johnson is a great hero and I would like to be like this hero any day. I hope that I will be like this hero when I grow up.

Frank from Omaha, NE wrote:
Magic Johnson’s heroic qualities have affected my life today by showing me that hard work and determination lead to happiness, and that despite whatever happens, one should never give up.

Magic Johnson Foundation, Inc.
9100 Wilshire Blvd. Ste 700 East
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Office: 310.246.4400
Fax: 310-246-1106

Earvin "Magic" Johnson contributed his hero story to MY HERO: Extraordinary People on the Heroes Who Inspire Them. Your purchase of this book helps to support this not for profit educational web project.


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