Magic Johnson Signed Basketball
As you glance through this page to see a few basketballs which have been signed by Magic Johnson, you can enjoy taking in the story of how he rose to stardom.
There have been thousands of NBA players since 1949 when it originally formed as a combination of two competing basketball associations before it. Many of these players were talented and played a great game, but only a few transformed the game as we know it. Earvin “Magic” Johnson was one of those players.
Earvin Johnson Jr. was born on August 14th, 1949. He had 9 brothers and sisters. Both of his parents worked. His mother worked as a custodian for a local school, and his father worked for General Motors. Johnson passed his free time by singing with his friends or playing basketball, often as early as 7:30AM, every morning.
These early games would spark a passion with Johnson that would last the rest of his life. At one time he told the USA Weekend about these early times, “I practiced all day. I dribbled to the store with my right hand and back with my left. Then I slept with my basketball.”
Top 5 Magic Johnson Signed Basketballs
1. Magic Johnson SIGNED Spalding I/O NBA Basketball HOF Lakers PSA/DNA AUTOGRAPHED – Autographed Basketballs
Although these formative years were important, his true talent for basketball wasn’t revealed until high school. He attended Everett High School where he quickly became the star of the team.
He earned the nickname everyone is now familiar with “Magic Johnson” at just 15 years old when a local newspaper witnessed him gain 36 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists during a single game. The sports writer who saw this wrote about him and called him magic.
Colleges all around the US were excited at the possibility of having Magic Johnson for their basketball team, but Magic Johnson wanted to play close to home. He chose Michigan State University to attend, joining their basketball team, the Spartans.
Magic Johnson would dominate during his time with the Spartans. In his sophomore year, Magic Johnson lead the Spartans to their first national championship win. He received First-Team All-American honors, and being named NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
2. Magic Johnson Larry Bird Julius Erving Signed Autographed Basketball JSA Beckett – Autographed Basketballs
After such an outstanding year, Magic Johnson had the attention of the world. He no longer needed to go to college to prove himself, and chose not to complete his college years. Instead, Magic Johnson chose to answer the call of the NBA and join a team there.
After his powerful sophomore season, many different teams had their eye on Magic Johnson. Both the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz were possibilities at one point. They had both finished with the worst overall records, and a coin flip would decide who got overall pick.
It so happened that the Los Angeles Lakers owned the Utah Jazz, and they were able to pick him via a trade involving Gail Goodrich. Magic Johnson would play for the Lakers for the rest of his career, a total of 13 seasons.
3. Magic Johnson Hand Print NBA Basketball Signed JSA Authenticated – Lakers – Autographed Basketballs
The Lakers were in a major state of change when Magic Johnson joined them. They had recently gotten a new coach with Jack McKinney working with them, a new owner Dr. Jerry Buss, and 7 new team members. The new owner, Buss, hoped that Magic Johnson would help get fans excited again, since he now had the most exciting college player of the time on his team. He didn’t disappoint.
The very first game featuring Magic Johnson was an exciting one. The Lakers were playing against the San Diego Clippers. They won, and Magic Johnson went crazy with the win, hugging and high-fiving everyone. One game however, doesn’t mean a championship with 81 games to go before anything was decided.
In his first year with the Lakers, Magic Johnson packed a serious punch. He averaged 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists. He was usually positioned as a point guard, but was able to switch roles when needed. While he wasn’t named rookie of the year, he still managed an attention grabbing performance.
He played all different positions during his first year, showing what remarkable talent he had as a basketball player. In one notable performance, starting center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was out of the game due to a sprained ankle.
4. 1988-89 LA Lakers Team Signed Basketball Jabbar Magic +12 Beckett BAS – Autographed Basketballs
With no where else to turn, the Lakers put Magic Johnson in his place. This game showed just a little bit not just of Magic Johnson’s skill at basketball, but of his overall versatility. He managed 42 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists during this incredible game.
That inspiring match won him NBA Finals MVP, and he would also receive s nomination for NBA All-Star Game starter and NBA All-Rookie honors that year.
During this year the Lakers would also see a new coach, Paul Westhead, after Jack McKinney was seriously hurt in an accident 14 games into the season.
His career had a dip after this. During a game, Magic Johnson tore cartilage in his left knee and was forced to sit out 45 games.
After his hugely successful year, all eyes were on him. The Lakers knew they had a real jewel on their hands, and they offered him one of the biggest financial deals of the time. He was awarded a 25 year, $25 million dollar contract. This kind of deal was unheard of, and the focus by fans and players alike were more riveted than ever.
5. Magic Johnson & LeBron James Autographed Basketball – Upper Deck – Autographed Basketballs
Magic Johnson’s Story Continued
Unfortunately, it would also be the year when Magic Johnson would have his first major dust up. November 18th, Magic Johnson exploded in the locker room, saying he wanted to be traded, he hated playing under coach Paul Westhead.
Paul had wanted to make changes to how the Lakers was playing in a way that Magic Johnson felt would reduce his role. Paul Westhead was a successful coach, but nonetheless he was fired the next day.
Laker fans were not pleased by this, and even booed Magic Johnson during games, although it may not be entirely his fault. Paul Westhead it turns out was a very sensitive person, and did not take well to criticism about his new tactics. He refused to discuss it with anyone, not even staff.
According to Paul Steiner, the public relations director of the Forum, “It got to the point where Paul wasn’t communicating with anyone, wasn’t listening to any advice, wasn’t even talking to the players except when necessary.”
Paul Steiner also said that the owner had made up his mind to fire Westhead 4 days before Magic Johnson spoke out, but was planning to wait until after they returned from a game. Magic Johnson’s explosive comments and Paul Steiner’s firing just happened to have unfortunate timing.
This poor timing lead to Magic Johnson not being selected for the all star team—the only time besides a year he had an injury he wasn’t.
The team selected assistant coach Pat Riley as their new coach, and the Lakers would also later see one of their lowest points in Magic Johnson’s time with them. Playing mistakes by Johnson directly contributed to their 1984 loss against Boston.
This low point fortunately, wouldn’t last forever. Magic Johnson would help the Lakers to 3 NBA titles in future years, and in 1986, (during one of these victory years) he would be named NBA’s Most Valuable Player.
During his 1986 season, Magic Johnson got a chance to once again show off his versatility as a player. Many people thought that he couldn’t score, but when Abdul-Jabbar was out with an eye infection Johnson stepped up to help crush the opposition. In a game against Houston he managed a whopping 38 points, and then later bested even that score with 46 points in a game against the Sacramento Kings.
These scores brought his average for the year up to 23.9—which would remain his highest average for the rest of his career.
Although many other basketball players have had higher averages than this in the past, one of the reasons Magic Johnson was so magic was because his major skill wasn’t scoring points. Magic Johnson was considered so incredible because of his passing skills.
Former Lakers Swingman Michael Cooper said, “There have been times when he has thrown passes and I wasn’t sure where he was going. Then one of our guys catches the ball and scores, and I run back up the floor convinced that he must’ve thrown it through somebody.”
Magic Johnson could pass a ball without looking to see where it went, throw the ball behind his back, and misdirect the eye while getting the ball where it needed to go. He was incredibly good at passing the ball, and while his personal scores were not as shockingly high as other legends, he was an essential part of team wins through his incredible talent for getting the ball where it needed to go.
In 1987, Magic Johnson officially became the leader of the team. 40 year old Abdul Jabar began teaching Magic Johnson additional tricks, such as his famous Sky Hook. Magic Johnson quickly picked up on the technique, and began using his own version in competition.
Abdul Jabar’s last season was in 1988. Magic Johnson would suffer a hamstring injury at the end of the year. They still managed to defeat the Pistons however, making them the first team since the Celtics to win a championship two years in a row.
Unfortunately the year after this they would end their bid for the championship early, with a loss to the Pistons. They would reach the finals again the next year however, the 9th time in Magic Johnson’s career they would do so.
In 1991 Michael Johnson announced his retirement—along with a startling piece of news. He informed the public that he had tested positive for HIV. At the time, many news reporters took it as Magic Johnson announcing his own death sentence, due to the lack of good quality treatments available at the time.
Fortunately, this announcement was not the end for Michael Johnson. He was given HIV treatments that weren’t publicly available at the time, and are now common place, helping to let him lead a normal life.
After 13 great seasons with the Lakers, he still had more to give. In 1992, Michael Jordan joined several other prominent players of his time to form the “Dream Team” for the Summer Olympics. A recent rule change allowed professionals to join the Olympic team for the first time.
The Dream Team was composed of the best players in the US, most of them who had always played against each other, never with each other. The team included Michael Jordan at his best, Larry Bird, and many players who would later end up in the basketball hall of fame.
This event truly showed off the talent available at the time. No other country came even close to touching the Dream Team, with the average lead being 44 points. Some even complained that the Dream Team was bullying in how far it went, but the reality is they were simply that much better at the game.
Olympic games weren’t the only post-retirement activities Magic Johnson would keep busy with. He would write a book about safe sex, campaign for HIV awareness, and even dabble in coaching later in life.
He stopped coaching soon after however, stating that his heart had never been in coaching and never would be. Instead, he wanted to follow his true dream of becoming an owner, and eventually did manage to become a part owner of the Lakers.