This Day in Black History: Aug. 14, 1959

Hall of fame professional basketball player and business magnate Earvin “Magic” Johnson was born.

Posted: 08/14/2012 07:00 AM EDT
Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Hall of fame professional basketball player and business magnate Earvin “Magic” Johnson was born on Aug. 14, 1959. 


Best known for his “no-look” passing skills and fast-paced “Showtime” style, Johnson spent his 13-year NBA career playing point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. As the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft, the former Michigan State player played with an exuberance that reinforced the nickname coined for him as a high school student.


His legendary “triple-double” performance with the Lakers during the 1980 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers won the 20-year-old an MVP Finals Award, making him the first rookie ever to do so.


Despite periodical shortcomings, Johnson ultimately amassed a remarkable host of career highlights and awards, including being a 12-time NBA All-Star, nine-time All-NBA First Team member, five-time NBA champion, three-time NBA Most Valuable Player, two-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, and U.S. men’s basketball Olympic champion with the Dream Team.


In 1991, Johnson discovered that he had tested positive for HIV and soon after announced his retirement. As an AIDS spokesperson, the athlete was heralded as a hero by fans and chosen as a starter for the 1992 NBA All-Star Game and a competitor in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics despite his retirement.


After two unsuccessful comeback attempts in 1992 and 1993, a retired Johnson eventually found his new calling as a businessman. At age 52, he is currently involved in several business ventures, including Magic Johnson Theaters, a nationwide chain of movie theaters, and Magic Johnson Entertainment, a movie studio.    



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(Photo: Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal/Getty Images)