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Johnson, Magic

Johnson, Magic (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. Since his official retirement Johnson has become a successful entrepeneur, overseeing a multimillion dollar business empire based in inner-city minority neighborhoods throughout the country as well as investments in sports teams, and is a vocal proponent of African-American economic empowerment. He also has worked as a sports commentator and was (2017–19) president of basketball operations for the Lakers.

See his autobiography (1992).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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