Magic Johnson is a former NBA player and a successful business owner. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 12 years, until he retired in 1991 due to his HIV diagnosis. Johnson spent the rest of his adult life to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and continues to do so today. Here are 10 little known facts about the professional basketball legend!
Number Ten: He’s in a Red Hot Chili Peppers Song
The iconic funk rock California band are long-time Lakers fans and dedicated a song to Johnson. The song is called ‘Magic Johnson’ and it was released as part of their 1989 album Mother’s Milk.
Number Nine: He Has His Own Video Game
Basketball video games back in the day used to be named after specific high-performance players. Johnson got his very own Arcadia Systems game in 1988—Magic Johnson’s Fats Break. Five years later, Super Nintendo released Magic Johnson’s Super Slam Dunk.
Number Eight: Magic Johnson Slept with a Lot of People
Johnson admitted to having sex with around 300-500 people a year before his HIV diagnosis. In fact, he allegedly used to take women to the locker room’s sauna before and after games and press conferences.
Number Seven: His Net Worth Increased after He Retired
Johnson announced his retirement in 1991 and successfully moved from basketball to business. He invested in Starbucks before it was popular and sold his interest in over 100 franchises for $27 million. His current net-worth is $400 million more than it was when he was an NBA player.
Number Six: His Mother Didn’t Like His Nickname
Earvin Johnson got his popular alias as a sophomore at Everett High School. His classmates and local sportswriters were so impressed by his performance in the basketball court they nicknamed him ‘Magic.’ His mother, however, didn’t like the name at all. She was a devoted Christian and she considered the word ‘Magic’ to be blasphemous.
Number Five: He Discouraged Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard met his favorite basketball player and role model Magic Johnson when he was 15. Howard always dreamed of becoming an NBA player, but Johnson told him he was “too little and too skinny” to ever become a professional player. Howard proved him wrong.
Number Four: He Claims to Have Invented What?
The high five. The phrase has appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary since 1980, but it’s unclear who coined it. Johnson once suggested he invented it during his days at Michigan State University, but there’s no way to prove it.
Number Three: His Most Memorable Moment
Playing in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics was his favorite basketball moment. He participated in and won many incredible games internationally, but his best memories come from playing with the ‘Dream Team’ at the Olympics!
Number Two: A Coin Flip Determined His Career
In 1979’s NBA draft, 22 NBA teams took turns to pick amateur basketball players from different U.S. universities. The Los Angeles Lakers won the coin flip and they chose Magic Johnson, who would’ve gone to the Chicago Bulls had the Lakers lost the flip.
Number One: He’s a Huge Music Lover
Outside the basketball court, what Johnson loves doing the most is listening to some good music, and dancing. “I’m the biggest music lover in the world. I mean, I have seen everybody. I went on tour with Michael Jackson and the Jacksons four or five times.” Johnson actually established his own record label in partnership with MCA Records—Magic Johnson Music. Thanks for reading!