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Magic Johnson

Magic JohnsonAKA Earvin Johnson Jr.

Born: 14-Aug-1959
Birthplace: Lansing, MI

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Basketball

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Lakers star, AIDS spokesman

Earvin Johnson, Jr., grew up with nine siblings, but Junior was the one who usually slept with his basketball. He dribbled it on errands to the store, and developed into a real player. A local sportswriter dubbed him "Magic" after watching Johnson dominate a high school game. His mother disapproved, thinking the nickname sounded blasphemous. Johnson had an uncanny ability to see plays before they developed, passing the ball cross-court to players who weren't there yet, but would be by the time the ball arrived. The term "triple double" (for a player whose points, rebounds, and assists reach double digits in a single game) was coined largely for Magic Johnson, who did it routinely. He played guard, center, and forward.

Johnson led his high school to the state championship, then went to Michigan State and led the Spartans to the 1978-79 national championship in his sophomore season. After that, he dropped out and went pro, leading the L.A. Lakers to the NBA championship in his rookie season, and winning the Most Valuable Player award for the playoffs. In his second season, Johnson feuded with the Lakers' coach, Paul Westhead, and demanded to either be traded or have the coach fired. Westhead was fired the next day, and the Lakers won a second championship that season. All told, Magic's Lakers won five championships.

On 7 November 1991, two months after getting married and still very much at the top of his game, Johnson announced that he had tested positive for HIV and would immediately retire from basketball. He was one of the first celebrities to make such an announcement, and remains still the most well-known person to publicly disclose the disease. Johnson said he had engaged in unprotected sex with dozens of women. In retirement, he established The Magic Johnson Foundation to fundraise for AIDS education.

In 1992, the summer after quitting the NBA, Johnson played on the "Dream Team" that won the Olympic Gold Medal in a cakewalk. Johnson announced he would be returning to the NBA, but dropped those plans when Karl Malone and several other prominent players complained about the "dangers" of playing against an HIV+ player. Johnson briefly coached the Lakers in 1994, but quit after losing 11 of 16 games. He returned as a player in 1995, and retired again at the end of that season. There have been no further comebacks as a basketball player, but Johnson remains active as an entrepreneur and activist.

In 1995, Johnson started Magic Johnson Theatres, bringing first-run cinema (and jobs) to largely-black neighborhoods. The project is a joint venture with movie giant Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp. He has similar joint ventures with Starbucks, T.G.I.Friday's, and Hewlett Packard. In 1998, Johnson hosted and produced The Magic Hour, an unwatchable talk show on Fox, canceled after only a few months. In 2012, a group of investors headed by Johnson purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Father: Earvin Johnson (GM laborer)
Mother: Christine Johnson (janitor)
Wife: Earleatha Kelly ("Cookie", m. 1988)
Son: Andre Johnson
Daughter: Elisa Johnson (adopted Jan-1995, with Kelly)
Son: Earvin Johnson III (b. 4-Jun-1992)

    High School: Everett High School, Lansing, MI
    University: Michigan State University

    Fatburger (2001-03)
    Starbucks Franchisee, 105 stores (1994-2010)
    Hillraiser 2008
    Muscular Dystrophy Association
    United Negro College Fund
    Urban League
    Endorsement of Lowe's Magic Johnson Theatres (branding agreement)
    Endorsement of Coors 2001
    Endorsement of Walt Disney World 1987
    Endorsement of Pepsi
    Endorsement of Rent-A-Center 2009
    NBA Most Valuable Player 1986/87
    NBA Most Valuable Player 1988/89
    NBA Most Valuable Player 1989/90
    Associated Press Athlete of the Year (male) 1996
    Basketball Hall of Fame 2002
    College Basketball Hall of Fame 2006
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 7018 Hollywood Blvd. (motion pictures)
    Visited Disneyland 50th Anniversary (5-May-2005)
    Risk Factors: AIDS, Dyslexia

    Los Angeles Dodgers Minority Owner (2012-)
    Los Angeles Lakers Minority Owner (1999-2010)
    Los Angeles Lakers Guard (1995-96)
    Los Angeles Lakers Guard (1979-91)
    Harlem Globetrotters lifetime contract (2003)

    Are We Done Yet? (4-Apr-2007) · Himself
    Michael Jackson: Video Greatest Hits - HIStory (16-Jun-1995)
    Christmas at Pee Wee's Playhouse (1988)

Official Website:

Author of books:
Magic (1983, memoir, with Richard Levin)
Magic's Touch (1989, memoir, with Roy S. Johnson)
My Life (1992, memoir, with William Novak)
What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS (1992, self-help)

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