Ervin Johnson became Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson as early as his during his Everett High School days. A sports writer after watching the 15-year old score 36 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists had coined the name in his admiration. After which the Magic continued and Johnson led Everett to a 27-1 record and the state title, averaging 28.8 points and 16.8 rebounds.
After joining Michigan State University, Johnson averaged 17.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game as a freshman, leading the Spartans to a 25–5 record, Big Ten Conference title. Led by Johnson, Michigan State for the second time reached the 1978–79 NCAA Tournament finals against Indiana State University, defeating them 75-64 in what was the most-watched college basketball game ever; and Johnson received the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four award.
After college, the Magic awaited the NBA where Johnson was drafted first overall in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers. Completing 13 NBA seasons with the Lakers, Johnson earned 17,707 points, 6,559 rebounds and 10,141 assists along with 1,724 steals, and won 5 NBA Championship rings and 3 NBA Finals MVP awards.
Later in 1991 Johnson’s announcement of his HIV positive condition sent shock waves across the NBA and the world alike. So did the announcement of his retirement.
Post his retirement from the NBA, Johnson played for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team. He undertook several works like writing a book, being a NBC television commentator and exploring possibilities of buying a NBA team.