76 Facts About Magic Johnson

1.

Magic Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award.

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2.

Magic Johnson holds the record for most career assists in the playoffs.

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3.

Magic Johnson was a member of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, which won the Olympic gold medal in Barcelona.

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4.

Magic Johnson was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996 and selected to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021, and became a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame—being enshrined in 2002 for his individual career, and again in 2010 as a member of the "Dream Team".

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5.

Magic Johnson's public announcement of his HIV-positive status helped dispel the stereotype, still widely held at the time, that HIV was a "gay disease" that heterosexuals need not worry about; his bravery in making this announcement was widely commended.

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6.

Magic Johnson is part of a group of investors that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 and the Los Angeles Sparks in 2014.

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7.

Magic Johnson, who had six siblings and three half-siblings by his father's previous marriage, was influenced by his parents' strong work ethic.

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8.

Magic Johnson's mother spent many hours after work each night cleaning their home and preparing the next day's meals, while his father did janitorial work at a used car lot and collected garbage, all while never missing a day at General Motors.

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9.

Magic Johnson idolized players such as Earl Monroe and Marques Haynes, and practiced "all day".

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10.

Magic Johnson's father played high school basketball in his home state of Mississippi, and Johnson learned the finer points about the game from him.

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11.

Magic Johnson had become a dominant junior high player, once scoring 48 points in a game.

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12.

Magic Johnson did join the basketball team but became angry after several days when his new teammates ignored him during practice, not even passing the ball to him.

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13.

Magic Johnson nearly got into a fight with another player before head coach George Fox intervened.

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14.

Magic Johnson dedicated the championship victory to his best friend Reggie Chastine, who was killed in a car accident the previous summer.

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15.

Magic Johnson, who finished his high school career with two All-State selections, was considered at the time to be the best high school player ever to come out of Michigan and was named to the 1977 McDonald's All-American team.

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16.

Magic Johnson did not initially aspire to play professionally, focusing instead on his communication studies major and on his desire to become a television commentator.

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17.

Magic Johnson was drafted first overall in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers.

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18.

Magic Johnson became the only rookie to win the NBA Finals MVP award, and his clutch performance is still regarded as one of the finest in NBA history.

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19.

Magic Johnson became one of four players to win NCAA and NBA championships in consecutive years.

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20.

Magic Johnson returned before the start of the 1981 playoffs, but the Lakers' then-assistant and future head coach Pat Riley later said Magic Johnson's much-anticipated return made the Lakers a "divided team".

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21.

Magic Johnson later said that his third season was when the Lakers first became a great team, and he credited their success to Riley.

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22.

Magic Johnson later described the series as "the one championship we should have had but didn't get".

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23.

The game-winning shot, which Magic Johnson dubbed his "junior, junior, junior sky-hook", helped Los Angeles defeat Boston in six games.

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24.

Magic Johnson was awarded his third Finals MVP title after averaging 26.

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25.

Magic Johnson had become more powerful and stronger than in his earlier years, but was slower and less nimble.

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26.

Magic Johnson performed well during the season, with averages of 19.

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27.

Magic Johnson stated that his wife Cookie and their unborn child did not have HIV, and that he would dedicate his life to "battle this deadly disease".

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28.

Magic Johnson later accused Isiah Thomas of spreading the rumors, a claim Thomas denied.

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29.

The Dream Team, which along with Magic Johnson included fellow Hall of Famers such as Bird, Michael Jordan, and Charles Barkley, was considered unbeatable.

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30.

Magic Johnson played infrequently because of knee problems, but he received standing ovations from the crowd, and used the opportunity to inspire HIV-positive people.

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31.

In 1985, Johnson created "A Midsummer Night's Magic", a yearly charity event which included a celebrity basketball game and a black tie dinner.

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32.

Magic Johnson was coaching a team that had five of his former teammates on the roster: Vlade Divac, Elden Campbell, Tony Smith, Kurt Rambis, James Worthy, and Michael Cooper, who was brought in as an assistant coach.

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33.

Magic Johnson missed two games and was stripped of his title as team captain.

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34.

The Lakers played poorly in a Game 1 loss, prompting Magic Johnson to express frustration with his role in coach Del Harris' offense.

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35.

Magic Johnson led the way to a Game 2 victory with 26 points, but averaged only 7.

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36.

In 1994, Magic Johnson joined with former pros Mark Aguirre, Reggie Theus, John Long, Earl Cureton, Jim Farmer, and Lester Conner, as his team played games in Australia, Israel, South America, Europe, New Zealand, and Japan.

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37.

Magic Johnson played with the team frequently over the next several years, with possibly the most memorable game occurring in November 2001.

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38.

At the age of 42, Magic Johnson played with the All-Stars against his alma mater, Michigan State.

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39.

Magic Johnson's half-court shot at the buzzer would have won the game, but it fell short.

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40.

In 1999, Magic Johnson joined the Swedish squad M7 Boras, and was undefeated in five games with the team.

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41.

Magic Johnson became a co-owner of the club; however, the project failed after one season and the club was forced into reconstruction.

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42.

Magic Johnson asserted that for him, the 82-game regular season was composed of 80 normal games, and two Lakers–Celtics games.

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43.

Magic Johnson appeared at Bird's retirement ceremony in 1992, and described Bird as a "friend forever"; during Magic Johnson's Hall of Fame ceremony, Bird formally inducted his old rival.

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44.

Magic Johnson is the only player to average 12 assists in an NBA Finals series, achieving it six times.

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45.

Magic Johnson holds the All-Star Game single-game record for assists, and the All-Star Game record for career assists .

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46.

Magic Johnson is the only player in NBA Finals history to have triple-doubles in multiple series-clinching games.

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47.

Magic Johnson first fathered a son in 1981, when Andre Magic Johnson was born to Melissa Mitchell.

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48.

In 1991, Magic Johnson married Earlitha "Cookie" Kelly in a small wedding in Lansing which included guests Thomas, Aguirre, and Herb Williams.

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49.

Magic Johnson is a Christian and has said his faith is "the most important thing" in his life.

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50.

Magic Johnson had an extremely close relationship with Lakers owner Jerry Buss, whom he saw as a mentor and a father figure.

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51.

Buss took a special interest in Magic Johnson, introducing him to important Los Angeles business contacts and showing him how the Lakers organization was run, before eventually selling Magic Johnson a stake in the team in 1994.

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52.

Magic Johnson had never seriously considered coaching, but he agreed to take the head coaching position with the Lakers in 1994 at Buss' request.

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53.

Magic Johnson has worked as a motivational speaker, and was an NBA commentator for Turner Network Television for seven years, before becoming a studio analyst for ESPN's NBA Countdown in 2008.

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54.

In 2006, Johnson created a contract food service with Sodexo USA called Sodexo-Magic.

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55.

The first Magic Johnson Theater located in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, closed in 2010 and re-opened in 2011 as Rave Cinema 15.

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56.

In 2012, Magic Johnson launched a cable TV network called Aspire, featuring programming targeted at black audiences, similar to networks such as Black Entertainment Television and TV One.

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57.

Magic Johnson began thinking of life after basketball while still playing with the Lakers.

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58.

Magic Johnson wondered why so many athletes had failed at business, and sought advice.

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59.

Magic Johnson learned everything he could about business, often meeting with corporate executives during road trips.

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60.

Magic Johnson has become a leading voice on how to invest in urban communities, creating redevelopment opportunities in underserved areas, most notably through his movie theaters and his partnership with Starbucks.

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61.

Magic Johnson went to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz with the idea that he could successfully open the coffee shops in urban areas.

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62.

Magic Johnson sold his remaining interest in the stores back to the company in 2010, ending a successful twelve-year partnership.

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63.

Magic Johnson has made investments in urban real estate through the Canyon-Johnson and Yucaipa-Johnson funds.

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64.

Magic Johnson sold his ownership stake in the Lakers in October 2010 to Patrick Soon-Shiong, a Los Angeles surgeon and professor at UCLA, but continued as an unpaid vice president for the team.

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65.

In February 2017, Magic Johnson returned to the Lakers as an advisor to Jeanie Buss.

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66.

In 2015, Magic Johnson completed his planned acquisition for a "majority, controlling interest" in EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, which manages $14.

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67.

Magic Johnson is an investor for aXiomatic eSports, the ownership company of Team Liquid.

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68.

In January 2012, Magic Johnson joined with Guggenheim Partners and Stan Kasten in a bid for ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

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69.

Together with Guggenheim, Magic Johnson was involved in the February 2014 purchase of the Los Angeles Sparks team in the WNBA.

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70.

Magic Johnson endorsed and appeared in campaign ads for unsuccessful Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel in 2013.

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71.

Magic Johnson left after eight months, saying that the White House had "utterly ignored" the work of the panel, and had opposed the commission's recommendations, which included universal healthcare and the expansion of Medicaid to cover all low-income people with AIDS.

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72.

Magic Johnson was the main speaker for the United Nations World AIDS Day Conference in 1999, and has served as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

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73.

HIV had been associated with intravenous drug users and homosexuals, but Magic Johnson's campaigns sought to show that the risk of infection was not limited to those groups.

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74.

Magic Johnson stated that his aim was to "help educate all people about what [HIV] is about" and teach others not to "discriminate against people who have HIV and AIDS".

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75.

Magic Johnson was later criticized by the AIDS community for his decreased involvement in publicizing the spread of the disease.

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76.

Magic Johnson has advertised GlaxoSmithKline's drugs, and partnered with Abbott Laboratories to publicize the fight against AIDS in African American communities.

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