Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s arrival in the National Basketball Association occurred the same year as Larry Bird’s, and together they often are credited with reigniting interest in the league during the 1980s. In college, Magic led Michigan State over Bird and Indiana State in the famous 1979 championship game. And as a rookie pro, he helped the Los Angeles Lakers secure a championship against Philadelphia with an MVP performance in the NBA Finals. Johnson wound up playing on five Laker championship teams (compared with Bird’s three for the Boston Celtics) and was known as the consummate playmaker and passer. Since permanently retiring in 1996, he has gone on to be a TV basketball analyst, advocate of HIV/AIDS prevention, and a successful inner-city entrepreneur who recently became a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Everybody on a championship team doesn't get publicity, but everyone can say he's a champion.”
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