Magic JOHNSON   Leave a comment

AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), incurable disease caused by a virus that damages the human body’s immune system; believed to be transmitted through sexual contacts, blood transfusions, or contaminated needles used for intravenous drug injections; often fatal; high percentage of victims are homosexuals or drug abusers.

The sports world was stunned on Nov. 7, 1991, when superstar Magic Johnson announced his immediate retirement from professional basketball because he was infected with the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). The athlete who, according to one characterization, could “take only three shots and still dominate a game” was slam-dunking a message to defeat HIV ignorance.

Earvin Johnson, Jr., was born in Lansing, Mich., on Aug. 14, 1959, the sixth of ten children. He got his start playing basketball on the playgrounds of Lansing. As a senior he led the Everett High School team to the Michigan Class A championship. After a particularly amazing display of basketball skill, during which he scored 36 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, and had 16 assists, a Lansing sports writer christened him Magic.

The home town Michigan State University wooed the All-Stater in 1977. Johnson’s talents led the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA championship during his sophomore year, after which he decided to turn pro.

The 6-foot, 9-inch point guard was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. In his 12 years with the Lakers, the team won five NBA championships (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988). He was chosen play-off MVP three times (1980, 1982, and 1987) and was the first rookie to be so named. He was the league’s MVP three times (1987, 1989, and 1990), and he was chosen for the 1992 Olympic basketball team. His 9,921 career assists were the most in NBA history.

With his dazzling smile, style, and blind passes, Johnson was among those credited with professional basketball’s surge in popularity in the 1980s. As one of the greatest and most popular players in the history of the NBA, he promised to use his public prominence as a spokesman in the fight against AIDS. He counselled young people to abstain from sex or practice safe sex and warned that contracting HIV “can happen to anybody, even Magic Johnson.”

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Posted 2012/05/01 by Stelios in Education

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