Johnson, Magic

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Johnson, Magic

Magic Johnson (Earvin Johnson, Jr.), 1959–, African-American basketball player, b. Lansing, Mich. After winning the national championship with Michigan State Univ. (1979), he joined the Los Angeles Lakers and with them won five National Basketball Association championships (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987–88). Respected as a consummate team player and leader, he was named most valuable player three times (1987, 1989–90). In 1991 he announced that he had tested positive for HIV and retired from professional basketball. He subsequently worked to promote AIDS awareness, played on the 1992 U.S. Olympic "Dream Team," made brief comebacks with Los Angeles in 1992 and 1996, and coached the Lakers in 1994. In 1998 he bought the Borås, Sweden, professional basketball team and has played occasional games with them. Since his official retirement Johnson has also become a successful entrepeneur, overseeing a multimillion dollar business empire based in inner-city minority neighborhoods throughout the country. He is also a vocal proponent of African-American economic empowerment.

See his autobiography (1992).

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