Born on August 14, 1959, Earvin Johnson acquired the "Magic" monicker by dint of his deftness with a basketball. He was Most Valuable Player at the NCAA Championships in 1979, as he led Michigan State to a 75-64 victory for the title. Playing professional basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson led the team to five National Basketball Association Championships. Me was threetime Most Valuable Player in 1987, 1989 and 1990; and threetime MVP in the playoffs, ir. 1980, 1982 and 1987. Leading the league in Assists for an Ailtime record of 9921, Johnson was named to the All-NBA first team nine times, eight of those times consecutively. One of the sport's most engaging personalities, he was a highly popular player, so it came as a shock to basketball fans in 1991 when he announced his retirement, in the prime of his playing life. He cited a positive test for the HIV virus as the reason, because many players felt that playing with or against him in a contact sport was unsafe and doctors advised that he could not physically stand the rigors of an entire NBA season. Nevertheless, he returned to play the next year, scoring 25 points in the 1992 NBA All-Star game, and rounding out his Alltime playoff records of 2320 assists and 358 steals. Johnson also played on the USA "Dream Team" that represented the United States at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
The Dream Team also featured such stars as Charles Barkley. Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone and other top American players. They won all of their games, including the final, in which they defeated Croatia 117-85. Before the start of the 1992-93 season. Johnson retired again, to pursue other interests, including a stint as coach of the LA Lakers.