Magic Johnson

The L.A. Lakers in the 1980?s were a basketball powerhouse with household names such as James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kurt Rambis who would doubt it. They had class and displayed it on the court. Kareem could pull up for his patented sky hook, they could dish to Worthy for the dunk and Rambis could pull down a rebound, but without a certain Magic there would be no showtime in L.A. A certain young player who had it all, a flashy smile and a great no look pass. That certain player was a true point guard, Earvin Johnson Jr. There are five magic parts to Earvin Johnson Jr.?s life.
On August 14, 1959 in Lansing, Michigan, Christine and Earvin Johnson gave birth to their third child, a beautiful baby boy named Earvin Jr. Earvin Jr. was born into the middle of a family of seven children. Quincy, Larry and Pearl were older and Kim and the twins, Evelyn and Yvonne were younger. This whole family squeezed into three small bedrooms and one bathroom. "The place turned into a real madhouse before school every morning, when we all lined up to use the bathroom. You learned to be quick." said Earvin once. (Johnson, p.4) Both of Earvin?s parents played high school basketball. Earvin played basketball a bunch with his older brother Larry. (Brenner, p.44) Earvin would wake up early and play basketball before school started. "People thought I was crazy," Earvin remembered. "It would be seven-thirty and they?d be going to work and say, ?There?s that crazy June Bug, hoopin?." (Lovitt, p.5) June bug was what many people called him, but his parents called him Junior and his friends called him E.J. (Johnson, p.4) When it snowed Earvin would go out and shovel the court. Earvin meet Jay Vincent, a child the same age of Earvin, who displayed the same love for basketball. The two became best friends. (Brenner, p.44)
Earvin was suppose to go to Sexton High, but since of busing Earvin was forced to go to Everett a mostly white school. The Lansing School Board had to bus some kids to Everett to mix the races and to stop the growth at Sexton. Earvin lived a half of a mile away from Sexton and a mile and a half away from Everett. Pearl and Larry hated Everett and Larry was always in fights. The only Johnson who didn?t have to go to Everett was Quincy who was already in high school when the board made it?s decision. Earvin made up stories saying he was living with friends and even appealed the school board. After the hours of work put up by Earvin, he ended up going to Everett. The Everett Vikings were a terrible basketball team. Earvin emerge as a leader. The black students at Everett wanted to listen to their own kind of music during lunch and Earvin got it so they could. Many of white students even started to like what Earvin had suggested.(Johnson, p.23-25)
In basketball, he was Everett?s top-scorer and rebounder in all most every game. Earvin had became close friends with Reggie Chastine, Everett?s point guard. Reggie was one year ahead of Earvin and he was five foot six. (Haskins, p.11) Coach George Fox was a good coach and an excellent teacher. He taught Earvin to always work on his fundamentals. Earvin?s freshman year they were picked to finish last. After a game, Fred Stabley Jr., a sportswriter for the Lansing State Journal, called Earvin, Magic and the nickname stuck. That year, Everett only lost one game and they went all the way to the state quarterfinals.(Johnson, p.27-29) The next season, in a game against Sexton, Earvin scored fifty-four points and set a high school record for most points in a game. Later, the record was broke by Evelyn (Earvin?s sister). The next game, Earvin?s shooting was off and he ended up with sixteen assists. The Everett Vikings again did not pass quarterfinals. In Earvin?s junior year, the Vikings got on a roll and made it to the state semi-finals, but were knocked out in a sixty-eight to sixty loss to Detroit Catholic Central. Earvin fouled out with 1:29 left in the game. He had scored thirty points and nine rebounds and he blamed himself for the loss. He had let Reggie down since he was to