Blog Entry

Magic Johnson: Through the years

Posted on: November 7, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 1:21 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver


While Monday marks the 20-year anniversary of NBA legend Magic Johnson's public announcement that he had contracted HIV, Johnson's impact on the basketball world is now stretching into its fifth decade. Here's a collection of some of the highlights along the way.


A sportswriter in Lansing, Michigan, dubs local star Earvin Johnson "Magic" for his all-around ball-handling brilliance. | USA Today


Johnson decides to stay home and attend Michigan State University, where he wins a title in his sophomore season.

"It was the 6-foot-8 Johnson who connected time after time with scoring and passing in the second half of Michigan State's 75-64 win over previously unbeaten Indiana State Monday," the UPI wrote. Indiana State was led by long-time rival Larry Bird.


Magic Johnson wins NBA Finals MVP as a Los Angeles Lakers rookie after scoring 42 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing seven assists and playing all five positions when center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went down an ankle injury. The game is in the discussion for greatest clutch performance of NBA history. | Sports Illustrated  

1982, 1985, 1987, 1988

Johnson goes on to lead the Showtime Lakers to four additional championships, establishing the team as the premier franchise of the decade and setting the standard for all future stars, Michael Jordan included, to surpass. Johnson would be named NBA MVP in 1987, 1989 and 1990.


Johnson shocks the entire world by announcing in a press conference that he had HIV and that he would retire. Beloved as a person and a sportsman, the nation reacted with shock, compassion and fear.


Johnson married his long-time companion, Cookie.


Along with Jordan and Bird, Johnson led the United States to a Gold Medal at the Barcelona Olympics. The team was dubbed the "Dream Team" and is widely regarded as the greatest collection of basketball talent of all time.

Johnson made an NBA comeback, highlighted by winning NBA All-Star MVP honors.


The Lakers retire Johnson's No. 32 jersey. |


Johnson began a brief coaching career with the Lakers. He finished with a record of 5-11.


Johnson transitions to the front office, buying an ownership stake in the Lakers and taking the title "Vice President." | Jet


Johnson began opening movie theatres in urban communities, a venture that would eventually lead to a partnership with Loews. | 


Johnson was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players.


Johnson struggled through a brief stint as a late-night talk show host. | New York Times


Johnson begins investing in Starbucks Coffee franchises in "underserved areas." | Starbucks


Johnson begins a 7-year career as a television commentator for TNT. He now commentates for ESPN. |


Johson is inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.


Johnson's foundation begins a partnership with AIDS Healthcare Clinic that has tested more than 3,000 adults. His foundation has tested, in total, more than 38.000 people.  | Magic Johnson Foundation


Johnson sells his ownership stake in the Lakers. |


The Dayton Dragons minor league baseball team, of which Johnson is a part-owner, sets a professional sports record for the most consecutive sell-outs. | New York Times 
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