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Magic Johnson

Retired NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson was born on August 14, 1959 to Earvin Sr. and Christine Johnson in Lansing, MI. Johnson is a Laker for life. After winning the NCAA Championship for the Michigan State Spartans, he was drafted by the Los Angeles-based team as the #1 pick that same year. This proved to be a match made in basketball heaven. Johnson won five NBA Championships with the Lakers and was named NBA’s Most Valuable Player three times in 1987, 1989, and 1990. The athletic superstar was at the top of his game when he suddenly shocked the world on November 7, 1991 by announcing he tested positive for HIV and would be retiring from the Lakers. He did, however, suit up in the red, white, and blue to represent Team USA as a member of the Olympic gold medal winning “Dream Team” in Barcelona. The Lakers retired his #32 jersey in 1992 and hired him to replace Randy Pfund as the team’s head couch in 1993 to finish out the season. In 2004, a statue of Johnson was erected in front of Staples Center, the arena where the Lakers play games. Johnson went down in history in 2002 when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. His accolades did not end there. Johnson was honored with the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award in 2014. He’s served as a NBA analyst for TNT and ESPN. He returned home to the Lakers organization as the President of Basketball Operations. At one point, he owned 4% of the team, but sold his share in 2010. He also has a stake in the Los Angeles Football Club (soccer), LA Dodgers, and LA Sparks. He’s turned his success and business savvy into partnership deals with TGI Fridays, 24 Hour Fitness, Starbucks, AMC Theatres, and Pepsi, just to name a few. He’s also invested in several tech start-up companies. Johnson settled down in 1991 when he wed college sweetheart Earletha “Cookie” Kelly. Weeks after they became husband and wife, Johnson was given his devastating HIV diagnosis. She stood by his side and he spoiled her with a lavish, over-the-top 25 anniversary party in September 2016. The couple has two children together. Their son, Earvin “EJ” Johnson III, was born in 1992. He came out as gay at age 13 and stars on “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.” They adopted daughter Elisa in 1994. Johnson also has an older son, Andre, born in 1981, from a previous relationship. The former baller uses his notoriety as a platform to educate people on HIV with his organization, Magic Johnson Foundation.

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