Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. is a retired professional basketball player who is known throughout the world not only for his basketball prowess but also for his advocacies and philantropism. One of the finest NBA players of all time, he is a Basketball Hall of Famer as player and a College Basketball Hall of Famer. Johnson is also part of the basketball team that won the gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games.
‘Magic’ was the nickname given to him in the Everett High School at the age of 15. He played for the High school basketball team in which was leading the team with an average 28.8 ppg and 16.8 rpg. After Johnson finished his schooling, he went over to the Michigan State University for his graduation. He represented the University team and also was the one of the most outstanding players in the final year.
After being at the college for two years he won eligibility to be a part of the 1979 NBA draft. Due to his outstanding performance at college level he was signed by the Los Angeles Lakers for a stunning $500,000 per year contract, the highest ever bid made at that time.
In his debut season Johnson averaged 18.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 7.3 apg. He was also named for the ALL Star NBA game. In the 1980 NBA season the Lakers had a 60-22 win loss record and eventually made it to the finals. They faced the Philadelphia 76ers in the finals and took 3-2 lead in the series. In the last game Johnson alone scored 42 points and 15 rebounds to lead the team to certain victory. This was regarded as one of the finest performances of his career.
Due to a severe knee injury, Johnson was almost out the team for the 1980-81 Season. In 1982, the Lakers once again made it to the playoffs and faced the 76ers in the finals. They defeated the 76ers by 4-2 and Johnson was successful in wining his second NBA champion title.
In the 1985 Season, Johnson led the team to one more NBA finals against the Celtics where they lost in a very close encounter. He had average score of 18.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 12.6 apg throughout the season. Once again the team had made it to the NBA finals in the 1989 Season where they faced the Pistons. However, due to Johnson’s hamstring injury in the 2nd game, he was rested for the rest of the games. In the absence of their star player, the team was whitewashed by 4-0.
In the 1991 Season, Johnson saw a decline in his performance in the initial games, but regained his strength soon. Lakers went on to win all the games till the finals, where they were hosted by the Chicago Bulls. Bulls had an equally good star called Michael Jordan who led the team to a 4-1 victory though Magic’s excellent performance in every game.
In 1992, Johnson was tested positive for HIV during a physical test for the 1992 NBA season. This brought an end to Johnson’s career and he decided to retire from the NBA. He played as a point guard/ Power Forward for the Lakers and his jersey numbers 32 and 33 were retired by Los Angeles Lakers and Michigan State, respectively. His career statistics are 17,707 points, 6,559 rebounds, and 10,141 assists.
Career Accomplishments:• 5-time NBA champion (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)• 3-time NBA Finals MVP (1980, 1982, 1987)• 3-time NBA Most Valuable Player (1987, 1989, 1990)• 12-time NBA All-Star (1980, 1982–1992)• 2-time NBA All-Star Game MVP (1990, 1992)• 9-time All-NBA First Team (1983–1991)• All-NBA Second Team (1982)• NBA All-Rookie First Team (1980)• 4-time NBA assists leader (1983, 1984, 1986, 1987)• 2-time NBA steals leader (1981, 1982)• J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1992)• NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team• NCAA champion (1979)• NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (1979)• Consensus first-team All-American (1979)• Second-team All-American – NABC (1978)• Third-team All-American – AP, UPI (1978)• Number 33 retired by Michigan State• Number 32 retired by Los Angeles Lakers