As the sports world evolves and days turn into decades, the true originators of the game are forgotten, or the memories of their incomparable contributions to a specific sport gives way to the more modern imitators and swag jackers of our current social media-driven, microwaved greatness age.
Today is Magic Johnson’s birthday. For basketball purists who understand the game and how past players paved the way for the current superstars, Magic is easily a Top 10 all-time player and the No. 1 point guard in the history of the league by far.
Others, less informed or lacking an in-depth knowledge of the game, might blasphemously leave Magic Johnson off of their all-time lists because they don’t see his magnificance on ESPN or any of the thousand sports affiliates and social media sports properties each day.
Magic helped the NBA grow exponentially in popularity and wealth back in the ’80s. His rivalry with Larry Bird captivated the sports world.
The amazing story of how the friendship between Earvin Johnson and Larry Bird began Taken from HBO’s : Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals.
His Showtime Lakers provided an excitement the NBA hasn’t seen since since. And his five NBA championships tell you all you need to know about one of the prolific winners in sports history.
His million dollar smile is still Top 5 all-time and the way he publically handled his HIV crisis — now almost 26 years ago — helped change ignorant, hurtful and negative perceptions about the disease and also encouraged non-celebrities suffering from what at the time was still a relatively unknown illness, to seek treatment, be open and honest about their fight with the disease.
Millions of people became educated about AIDS and HIV thanks to Magic’s fearless acceptance of his situation, his refusal to condemn himself to a death sentence and the remarkable list of accomplishments he was able to rack up as a businessman.
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Magic not only started successful corporations and projects that empowered, inspired and provided minorities with opportunities, but he broke ground by becoming a part-owner of the LA Dodgers baseball franchise and now he’s running The Lake Show, not as the incomparable, flashy and superiorly-clutch 6-foot-9 ball magician, but as the executive mastermind of the franchise’s current revival.
If there was ever an athlete that deserved to be recognized for transcending the game, contributing positively to society and expanding the scope and ambitions of black entrepreneurs it’s the Magic Man, truly an American icon.