Dubbed "Magic" by Lansing State Journal sportswriter Fred Stabley Jr. after Stabley witnessed Johnson post a triple-double (36 points; 16 assists; 16 rebounds) in a high-school game.
Led Michigan State University to the NCAA Tournament two straight years, culminating in the 1979 title over Larry Bird and Indiana State University—sparking a rivalry that spilled over into the two stars' NBA careers.
Selected first overall in the draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Started Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals in place of an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and scored 42 points and 15 rebounds to clinch the title, and became the first rookie to win the Finals MVP.
Won five titles with the Lakers (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988).
Announced on November 7, 1991, that he had contracted HIV and would retire immediately, but was subsequentally selected to the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, sparking complaints from some players.
Named to the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team, dubbed the Dream Team, after FIBA allowed professional players to compete.
Hosted a late-night talk show in 1998 called The Magic Hour, which was canceled by Fox after two months.
Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He was introduced by former rival Larry Bird.