Magic Johnson Then and Now

By / July 11, 2024

Magic Johnson Then

Magic Johnson, born on August 14th, 1959, in Lansing, Michigan, grew up in a hardworking family with his father, Earvin Sr., employed on a General Motors assembly line and his mother, Christine, working as a school janitor. 

From a young age, Johnson fell in love with basketball, inspired by his heroes like Earl Monroe. 

His passion for the game led him to join the basketball team at Everett High School as soon as he could. 

At just 15 years old, he earned the nickname “Magic” after an incredible performance where he scored a triple-double with 36 points, 18 rebounds, and 16 assists. 

This nickname was further solidified during his senior year when he led his team to win the state championship, showcasing his extraordinary talent and leadership.

Johnson’s exceptional skills on the court attracted offers from every high-profile college, but he chose to stay close to home by attending Michigan State University. 

His decision proved to be momentous as he led the Spartans to the NCAA finals in 1979. 

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There, they faced Indiana State University, led by star player Larry Bird.

This highly anticipated match-up became the most-watched college basketball game ever televised and ignited one of the greatest rivalries in sports history. 

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Johnson’s performance was stellar, leading Michigan State to victory over Indiana and earning him the title of Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

This victory not only highlighted his college career but also set the stage for his legendary status in basketball.

Magic Johnson’s college success and his rivalry with Larry Bird would continue to define his career in the NBA.

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His decision to stay at Michigan State allowed him to develop his game close to home, and his performances on the national stage proved that he was destined for greatness. 

The 1979 NCAA final was a pivotal moment that launched Magic Johnson into the spotlight, solidifying his reputation as one of the most talented and influential players in the history of basketball.

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Magic Johnson Career History

Magic Johnson’s illustrious career began as the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft, selected by the Los Angeles Lakers. 

His rookie season was nothing short of spectacular, as he and teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Lakers to an NBA championship.

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Magic’s performance in the Finals was so exceptional that he was named the MVP, a rare achievement for a rookie. 

This early success was a sign of things to come, as Johnson would go on to win five NBA championships with the Lakers in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988.

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His dominance in the league was further solidified by being named NBA Finals MVP three times (1980, 1982, 1987) and the NBA Most Valuable Player three times (1987, 1989, 1990).

Throughout his career, Johnson was a 12-time All-Star and a two-time All-Star game MVP. 

His unique skill set, court vision, and leadership earned him the reputation as the greatest point guard of all time.

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Unfortunately, his career was abruptly cut short in 1991 when he announced that he had contracted HIV. 

Despite this setback, Johnson’s influence on the game continued.

Magic Johnson briefly returned to the NBA as the head coach of the Lakers towards the end of the 1993-94 season.

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At the urging of team owner Jerry Buss, he replaced Randy Pfund and Bill Bertka. 

Although the team initially showed promise under his leadership, winning five of their first six games, a subsequent losing streak led to his resignation. 

Johnson later purchased a 5% share in the team, maintaining his connection to the Lakers.

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In the 1995-96 season, a 36-year-old Johnson made a comeback as a player, re-joining the Lakers. 

The team had a 22-10 record in the games he played, and Johnson considered this final stint a success. 

However, after the Lakers were eliminated by the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, Johnson retired permanently.

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Over the course of 905 NBA games, Johnson amassed 17,707 points, 6,559 rebounds, and 10,141 assists, averaging 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 assists per game—the highest assists per game average in NBA history. 

He holds numerous records, including the single-game playoff record for assists (24), the Finals record for assists in a game (21), and the most playoff assists (2,346).

He is the only player to average 12 assists in an NBA Finals series, achieving this remarkable feat six times. 

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Additionally, Johnson holds the All-Star Game single-game record for assists (22) and the career assists record in All-Star Games (127). Magic Johnson’s impact on basketball extends beyond his playing career.

His records, leadership, and passion for the game have left an indelible mark on the sport, inspiring future generations of players and fans alike. 

His perseverance in the face of adversity and his continued involvement with the Lakers and the broader basketball community underscore his enduring legacy as one of the greatest to ever play the game.

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Magic Johnson Height

Magic Johnson, standing at an impressive height of 2.06 meters (6 feet 9 inches), utilized his unique combination of size, skill, and vision to revolutionize the point guard position in basketball, making him one of the most versatile and dominant players in NBA history.

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Magic Johnson Retirement

Following his announcement of being HIV-positive in November 1991, Magic Johnson took on a pivotal role in raising awareness and combating the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. 

In response to his diagnosis, Johnson founded the Magic Johnson Foundation, dedicated to supporting HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and treatment.

Through his foundation, he became a prominent advocate for safe sex practices and HIV/AIDS prevention, addressing misconceptions and challenging stereotypes about the disease. 

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Johnson’s openness about his health status had a profound impact, particularly in challenging the prevailing belief at the time that HIV/AIDS primarily affected the gay community.

His advocacy efforts not only contributed to public awareness but also helped foster greater understanding and empathy towards those living with HIV/AIDS. 

Beyond his advocacy work, Johnson continued to excel as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and broadcaster, leveraging his platform to inspire positive change and promote health initiatives in communities around the world.

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Magic Johnson Wife

Magic Johnson’s personal life has been marked by his enduring relationship with his wife, Earlitha “Cookie” Johnson, whom he married in a small ceremony in Lansing, Michigan, in 1991. 

Together, they have built a close-knit family, raising their son, Earvin III (known as E.J. Johnson), who gained recognition for his appearances on the reality TV show “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.”

In 1995, Magic and Cookie expanded their family by adopting their daughter, Elisa.

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In addition to his children with Cookie, Magic Johnson is also a father to Andre Johnson, born in 1981 to Melissa Mitchell from a previous relationship.

Although Andre was primarily raised by his mother, he maintained a close bond with Magic, spending summers together and eventually working as a marketing director for Magic Johnson Enterprises. 

This extended family dynamic reflects Magic Johnson’s commitment to both his personal relationships and his professional endeavors, emphasizing his role as a dedicated family man alongside his successful career in business and philanthropy.

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Magic Johnson Now

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At 64 years old, Magic Johnson stands as an iconic figure in both sports and business realms. 

Renowned as the greatest point guard in basketball history, he distinguished himself during his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. 

Johnson’s exceptional court vision, leadership, and versatility revolutionized the point guard position, paving the way for future generations of players. 

Beyond his athletic achievements, he has transitioned into a successful entrepreneur and businessman, founding Magic Johnson Enterprises, which focuses on urban revitalization projects and investments in diverse industries such as entertainment, real estate, and healthcare. 

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His contributions extend beyond the boardroom as well; Johnson remains actively involved in philanthropy, particularly through the Magic Johnson Foundation, which he established to support HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, along with other community initiatives. 

Magic Johnson’s enduring impact on sports, business, and society at large underscores his legacy as a multifaceted leader and role model.

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Magic Johnson’s Net Worth

Magic Johnson, a retired American basketball player and entrepreneur with a net worth of $800 million, has leveraged his iconic status from the NBA into a successful business empire spanning real estate, entertainment, and healthcare investments, while also making significant contributions to philanthropy through the Magic Johnson Foundation.

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Did Magic Johnson have a wife?

Yes, Magic Johnson has been married to Earlitha “Cookie” Johnson since 1991.

Does Magic Johnson still have kids?

Yes, Magic Johnson and his wife Cookie have two children together: Earvin III (E.J. Johnson), born in 1992, and Elisa, whom they adopted in 1995.

Additionally, Magic has a son named Andre Johnson from a previous relationship.

Why was Magic Johnson so famous?

Magic Johnson rose to fame as a legendary basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA.

Known for his exceptional skills as a point guard, including his court vision, passing ability, and leadership, he revolutionized the position and became one of the greatest players in basketball history.

His charisma, infectious personality, and numerous achievements on the court, including five NBA championships, further contributed to his fame.

Is Magic Johnson still rich?

Yes, Magic Johnson is still wealthy. As of recent reports, his net worth is estimated to be around $800 million.

Beyond his earnings from basketball, Johnson has successfully ventured into business, founding Magic Johnson Enterprises, which has investments in real estate, entertainment, and healthcare sectors.

His business acumen and strategic investments have contributed significantly to his continued financial success.

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