Few athletes are genuinely unique, with their one-of-a-kind abilities affecting the way their sport is played. One of them was Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Johnson was a tremendous basketball player, but how good was he? Perhaps so brilliant that future generations of basketball fans would wish they had been born years earlier just so they could have seen Magic play in person rather than on highlight clips.
He was the 1950s version of Bob Cousy, the 1960s version of Oscar Robertson, and the 1970s version of Julius Erving.
Magic Johnson is one of the most well-known athletes in the United States. Over the course of his three-decade career, he has won several championships. He also controls a significant portion of Magic Johnson Enterprises, a sports marketing, and management firm.
Magic Johnson has a 6’9″ wingspan. This is the average NBA player’s height.
Everyone who saw Johnson play took an indelible recollection of what they had seen, whether it was a behind-the-back pass to a streaking James Worthy, a half-court swish at the buzzer, or a grin that lit up an arena. People wondered how a man so large could achieve so much with the ball and his body from the time he came onto the court. It was a magical experience.
During his 13-year NBA career, which he spent with the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson accomplished about everything a player could wish for. He was a part of five championship teams during his career. He earned the Most Valuable Player Award three times and the Finals MVP Award once. He was a 12-time All-Star and nine-time First-Team All-NBA selection. He broke Robertson’s record for career assists, which he eventually ceded to John Stockton. At the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, he earned a gold medal with the original Dream Team.
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Although history mandates that Robertson be credited as the first guy to routinely achieve double digits in three statistical categories in the same game, his all-around play sparked the adoption of the phrase “triple-double” to basketball’s vernacular. Unfortunately for the Big O, the phrase “triple-double” had not yet been coined in the 1960s.
Johnson accomplished all of this while retaining a childish zest for athletics and competitiveness. Johnson was content just to be playing basketball, despite the money, fame, and achievement.
Johnson’s superb passing skills were the component of his game that wowed the most people. With no-look passes off the fastbreak, perfect alley-oops from halfcourt, twisting feeds, and overhand bombs beneath the hoop through triple teams, he wowed fans and perplexed opponents. He shot when opponents anticipated him to pass. He didn’t shoot when they expected him to.
“There have been moments when he has thrown passes and I wasn’t sure where he was going,” former Lakers swingman Michael Cooper said. Then one of our players gets the ball and scores, and I dash back up the court, certain that he must’ve tossed it through someone.”
Earvin Johnson Jr. was born on August 14, 1959, in Lansing, Michigan, to a family of nine brothers and sisters. His father was a custodian at a school and his mother worked at a GM plant. Earvin passed the time by singing with his friends on street corners and, of course, by playing basketball. Many mornings, “Junior,” or “June Bug,” as his neighbors dubbed him, was on the court by 7:30 a.m.
A sports reporter gave him the moniker after watching the 15-year-old prepster score 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 16 assists. (As a devout Christian, Johnson’s mother believed the nickname was obscene.) Johnson averaged 28.8 points and 16.8 rebounds as a senior, leading Everett to a 27-1 record and the state championship.
Johnson chose Michigan State University in East Lansing because he wanted to be near to home. He led the Spartans to a 25-5 record and the Big Ten Conference title as a rookie (17.0 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game, 7.4 assists per game). Johnson led his team to the National Championship in 1979 as an All-America sophomore, defeating Larry Bird’s Indiana State club is possibly the most anticipated (and watched) NCAA championship game ever.
Johnson forewent his last two seasons of college to join the 1979 NBA Draft, having completed everything he set out to do. The Utah Jazz was intended to draught first, but they had given up their first-round pick in 1979 to the Los Angeles Lakers three years prior as compensation for signing Gail Goodrich as a free agent. As a result, Johnson was selected first overall by the Lakers.
Fans who saw Johnson’s first game saw the kind of excitement he’d have for the rest of his career. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hit a buzzer-beating shot to upset the San Diego Clippers on opening night, and Johnson went bananas, giving out bone-jarring high-fives and bear embraces. Most onlookers believed that if the boy kept going at this pace, he’d burn out in no time. Even Abdul-Jabbar had to warn the youngster to calm down since there were still 81 games to go, not including playoffs.
Bird of the Boston Celtics won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award that season. Los Angeles, on the other hand, was the NBA champion. The Lakers won the Western Division with a 60-22 record, the second-best in the league. (After McKinney was gravely injured in a bicycle accident 14 games into the season, Paul Westhead took over as coach.) Johnson’s stats in 77 games were identical to those he had at Michigan State (18.0 ppg, 7.7 RPG, 7.3 APG). Since Elvin Hayes 11 years ago, he became the first rookie to start in an NBA All-Star Game.
Johnson, a 20-year-old rookie, enters the fray. With 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals while filling in for Abdul-Jabbar at the center, Johnson led the Lakers to victory. He even sprang for the first tip. Johnson became the first rookie to earn the MVP Award in the NBA Finals. The incredible performance demonstrated his amazing ability to accomplish anything the Lakers needed to win.
Johnson’s and the Lakers’ fortunes did not improve next year. The Atlanta Hawks’ 7-foot-2 Tom Burleson collided with Johnson’s left knee in the first month, forcing him to miss 45 games due to damaged cartilage. In time for the Lakers’ best-of-three playoff series against the Houston Rockets, he returned. When Johnson tossed up an airball as time expired in Game 3, he had only made two of his 13 field-goal tries. The Lakers were defeated 89-86 in the game and in the series.
In 1981-82, Johnson and the Lakers resurrected, winning their division and defeating the 76ers in another six-game NBA Finals, in which Johnson was named MVP for the second time. The season has its fair share of unpleasantness as well. Westhead intended to rebuild the offense in such a way that Johnson feared it would diminish his role. Johnson blew up in the locker room following a game in Utah, according to reports. “I’m not able to play here any longer.” I want to get out of here. He was cited as stating, “I want to be traded.” Reporters waited for Johnson to reveal that he was kidding. It didn’t show up.
The two years after the Westhead debacle was fantastic for Johnson personally but difficult for Los Angeles. Johnson earned the first two of his four league assists championships, and he continued to improve on his already outstanding all-around performance. Norm Nixon, Worthy, and Bob McAdoo were all injured in the 1982-83 NBA Finals versus Philadelphia. The 76ers were victorious in all three games of the series.
Nixon had stepped down by the 1984 Finals, Abdul-Jabbar was approaching 40, and Johnson had signed a then-record 25-year, $25 million deal. Johnson’s career reached a low point during the tough seven-game series versus Boston. The Lakers’ downfall was aided by his playmaking errors at the conclusion of Games 2, 4, and 7.
The Lakers won three NBA titles in the next four years as Johnson improved his outside shooting and established assists records. The first of these occurred in a 1985 Finals victory against their archrivals, the Celtics. The Lakers would come back from a 148-114 loss in Game 1 of the series, called the “Memorial Day Massacre” since the game was played on Memorial Day, to win the series in six games. The Lakers defeated the Celtics in the Finals for the first time, 111-100, on the parquet floor of the Garden, ending an eight-year drought of defeats dating back to when the Lakers played in Minneapolis.
In 1987, after a six-game triumph against Boston, Johnson received his third Finals MVP Award. It was also the year when Johnson took over as the team’s leader from Abdul-Jabbar. During practice, the 40-year-old center showed his protégé how to shoot a sky-hook in games of H-O-R-S-E. Johnson immediately perfected his own version of the shot, which he utilized to score the game-winning basket in the Garden’s 107-106 Game 4 triumph. The Lakers’ victory propelled them to their second Finals victory against the Celtics in three years.
During the 1990-91 season, Johnson led the Lakers to a 58-24 record. The Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals for the second time after defeating a Clyde Drexler-led Portland TrailBlazers club in the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers were defeated in five games by the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan, but it was Johnson’s eighth trip to the Finals in his 12-year career.
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Johnson shocked the world when he announced before the 1991-92 season that he had tested positive for HIV and would be retiring from the NBA. That season, he did make a memorable debut in the All-Star Game, winning the MVP Award and leading the West to a 153-113 victory. He also started an AIDS awareness campaign, for which he got the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award from the league.
Johnson went on to play for the United States Olympic Dream Team in 1992, author a book about safe sex, operate many companies he founded as a player, serve as a television analyst for NBC, and look into buying an NBA franchise. He took over as head coach of the Lakers with 16 games remaining in the 1993-94 season, replacing Randy Pfund.
Johnson got involved in another commercial endeavor in 1995, creating a network of movie theatres in Los Angeles’ minority areas, which he then expanded to other cities. When he moved his barnstorming basketball team (made up of former collegiate and NBA players) to Asia and Australia, he continued to delight people all over the world.
Johnson finished his NBA career with 17,707 points (19.5 ppg), 6,559 rebounds (7.2 RPG), 10,141 assists (11.2 APG), and 1,724 steals, good for ninth place all-time. He also has the most All-Star Game assists (127) and three-point goals (137). (10).
Johnson was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996-97. He became elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Johnson was engaged in the acquisition of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks alongside Mark R. Walter, the majority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and other local investors in early February 2014. Since Johnson took over as coach of the Sparks, the club has won the WNBA championship in 2016, lost in the WNBA Finals in 2017, and has been in the playoffs every season.
Johnson was hired as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations on February 21, 2017. Magic Johnson shocked the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA world by stepping down from his job before the team’s final game of the 2018-19 season. Johnson has several strong business interests, as well as ownership positions in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles FC, even if he no longer plays for the Lakers.
Is Magic Johnson Worth A Billion Dollars?
He became the Lakers’ factor defend for thirteen years. After winning championships in high school and college, the Lakers selected Johnson first overall in the 1979 NBA draught. As of 2020, Magic Johnson’s net worth is believed to be over $600 million, making him one of the world’s wealthiest athletes.
Is Magic Johnson A Good Shooter?
Johnson’s shooting percentages show a preference for shooting throughout that time span, not an incapacity. Because of his remarkable offensive variety, long-range shooting is the least of Johnson’s problems when it comes to adapting to the modern game. The strength of “Death Lineups” comes from the fact that it is based on positionless basketball that may be altered.
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