|Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson (left) in 1991 backing down arguably the best player of all time, Chicago Bulls shooting guard Michael Jordan (right).|
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Magic Johnson Reaching NBA Milestone
On March 7, 1996, NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson becomes the second NBA player to reach 10,000 career assists.
After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers.
He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s.
Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996, at age 36, to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.
Johnson's career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, where he was the MVP twice. He also earned nine All-NBA First and one Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA's all-time leader in average assists per game, at 11.2. He also led the NBA in steals twice in 1982-1983. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1980.
The Lakers retired his no. 32 jersey.
Johnson was a member of the "Dream Team", the U.S. basketball team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1992. After leaving the NBA in 1992, Johnson formed the Magic Johnson All-Stars, a barnstorming team that traveled around the world playing exhibition games.
Johnson was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, and enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Magic was rated the greatest NBA point guard of all time by ESPN in 2007. His friendship and rivalry with Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, whom he faced in the 1979 NCAA finals and three NBA championship series were well documented.
Since his retirement, Johnson has been an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex, as well as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, broadcaster and motivational speaker.
Johnson was a part owner of the Lakers for several years, and was part of a group that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012.