is best known for his athletic career
as a basketball player with the LA Lakers
until his retirement in 1991 after announcing
he was HIV positive. After ending his
basketball career, Magic Johnson went
on to become a very successful businessman
and entrepreneur, creating the Johnson
Development Corporation through which
he has helped large chain stores and entertainment
complexes take root in minority neighborhoods.
Johnson was born Earvin Effay Johnson
Jr. on August 14, 1959 in Lansing, Michigan.
Even in his early years, Johnson loved
basketball and engaged in the sport at
every opportunity. When Johnson joined
his first basketball team at the age of
15, his incredible talent and athleticism
won him the nickname "Magic".
He worked hard at basketball and eventually
graduated high school as a local star,
having led the team to the state finals
settled on attending Michigan State University
close to home where he prepared for a
major in communication studies. Although
his original intent was to go into television,
a local basketball team reconnected him
with his love of the sport. Magic Johnson's
talent eventually helped lead the Spartans
to the Big Ten Conference title and took
Michigan State to the NCAA finals in 1979.
It was at this final game that Johnson
first played face to face with his soon-to-be
professional rival, Larry Bird.
two years of college and multiple basketball
wins under his belt, Johnson left Michigan
State and was listed as the number one
draft pick of the season. The Los Angeles
Lakers drafted Johnson and he quickly
became a favorite with both his teammates
and fans. His enthusiasm for basketball
was always present and his skills with
the ball won him the NBA Finals MVP award.
By the time he was twenty, Johnson had
won almost every award at the high school,
college, and professional level.
Johnson's basketball career lasted from
1979 to 1991 and followed the common ups
and downs of most professional athletic
careers. His time on the court ended with
shock to his fans, however, when he announced
his infection with HIV in November of
1991. The announcement came with his decision
to immediately retire. Although he returned
to the game for brief stints to take part
in the 1992 All-Star Game and the 1992
Olympics, Johnson was already beginning
to work on business ventures.
1991 Johnson partnered with Earl G. Graves
to purchase a Pepsi-Cola distribution
plant in Maryland. Not long after his
investment with Graves, Johnson started
the Johnson Development Corporation with
the original intention of bringing movie
theaters to minority communities. Although
his ideas were met with some skepticism,
the large revenues of his theaters brought
him welcomed attention. Johnson partnered
with Loews Cineplex Entertainment to continue
building theaters in Los Angeles, Houston,
Atlanta and Cleveland.
a result of his success with theaters,
Magic Johnson began branching out into
other avenues of entertainment and food.
His idea remained the same: bring quality
chain restaurants and stores to minority
neighborhoods. Johnson's business ideas
eventually led to partnerships with Starbucks,
Fatburger, and the popular restaurant
continued to grow his retail relationships
through the Johnson Development Corporation,
but he also began working within the television
and film industries. Besides opening up
a series of sports and exercise clubs,
Johnson began producing films and television
shows, some of which were scheduled for
distribution through Black Entertainment
Television. He continues to work in entertainment
while simultaneously bringing greater
opportunities to disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Johnson is married to Earlitha Kelly and
has one child.
Magic Johnson biography may not
be reproduced online.
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