Video source: nonplayerzealot4 on YouTube
Johnson received a standing ovation when the announcer called his name over the intercom before the game. He scored on a two-pointer to put the Lakers on the board. The Lakers eventually claimed a 124-112 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The virus was misunderstood. Between players like Karl Malone who refused to play with Johnson on the court and the media circus, he decided to leave the game. The reason he gave was to relieve the team from constant scrutiny and let his teammates play without distractions.
Johnson came back for 32 games during the 1995-96 season and proved he could still play but the infection cut his time short.
The Lansing, Michigan native quickly developed a love for basketball and was first given the name “Magic” by a sports writer who watched him score 36 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists in a single game.
Johnson was the first pick of the 1979 NBA draft. He participated in 12 consecutive All-Star games and helped the Lakers to five national titles. The Lakers retired his number, 32, in 1992 and he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. His priceless smile lets the world know his positive attitude is far from gone.