Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. is an American retired professional basketball player who played professionally for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Magic is a 5-Time NBA Champion, 3-Time NBA Finals MVP, 3-Time Most Valuable Player, 12-Time NBA All-Star, 9-Time All-NBA First Team, 4-Time NBA Assists leader, 2-Time NBA Steals leader, and 2-Time NBA All-Star Game MVP.
After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was drafted as the 1st overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Paired alongside the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the duo led the Lakers to the 1980 NBA Finals where they met the Philadelphia 76ers. After taking a 3-2 lead in the series, Abdul-Jabbar who averaged 33 points a game in the series, sprained his ankle in Game 5 and could not play in Game 6. Playing at the center position for Game 6 in place of Jabbar, Magic posted 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in a 123–107 win over the Sixers in Philadelphia to win his first championship. His performance is considered as one of the finest performances in NBA history. Magic was named as the Finals MVP and became the only rookie in NBA History to do so.
In the 1982-1983 season, Johnson averaged 18.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 9.5 assists, and a league-high 2.7 steals per game and joined Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only NBA players to score at least 700 points, 700 boards, and 700 dimes in the same season. Lakers reached the playoffs and faced the Sixers for the second time in three years. Johnson scored a triple-double in Game 6. He won his second championship and second Finals MVP Award.
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The Lakers reached the Finals for the third year in a row in the 1983-84 season where they met Bird's Celtics for the first time in the post-season. Due to Magic’s several crucial errors in multiple games of the series, the Lakers lost the Finals in seven games. The Lakers and the Celtics met again in the 1985 NBA Finals, where they defeated the Celtics in six games. In the 1986-87 season, Johnson averaged a career-high of 23.9 points, as well as 12.2 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game, and earned his first regular season MVP award. As the Lakers faced the Celtics again in the NBA Finals, Johnson hit an iconic last-second hook shot over Celtics big men Parish and Kevin McHale to win game 4 (107-106). Johnson won his fourth title and third Finals MVP as the Lakers defeated the Celtics in 6 games.
In the 1988–89 NBA season, Johnson's 22.5 points, 12.8 assists, and 7.9 rebounds per game which earned him his second MVP award. Johnson announced in 1991 that he had contracted HIV in and announced his retirement from basketball. He returned to play after a year in the 1992 All-Star Game and won the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years. Johnson returned for the final time, at age 36, to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.
Magic also won an Olympic Gold Medal as part of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team ("The Dream Team"). He is widely considered as one of the best point guards and one of the best to have ever played the game. He was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
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