Story of the Week

MAGIC JOHNSON

    Earvin Johnson spoiled me forever. He is my favorite basketball player of all time. He did everything right on the basketball court. It truly was a "Magic" time for Laker fans. He was "Showtime at the Forum".

    Career highlights as a player:

78-79: Won NCAA championship at Michigan State. Drafted by the Lakers.

79-80: Led Lakers to NBA finals. In game six, played center against 76írs., filling in for Abdul-Jabbar, and led L.A. to victory with 42 points. L.A. won series.

81-82: Magic was MVP of NBA finals against Philadelphia. Lakers won series.

84-85: Lakers beat Boston in rematch of previous yearís NBA finals.

86-87: Magic won league and finals MVP award. Lakers beat Boston in finals.

87-88: Lakers beat Detroit to win NBA title.

88-89: Magic won league MVP award.

89-90: Magic won league MVP award.

91-92: Before season began, Magic announced that he had tested positive for HIV, and was retiring from NBA. He came back to play in All-Star game, and won MVP honors. He played on US Olympic team that won gold medal.

95-96: Magic came out of retirement briefly, played 32 games, retired.

    No words I can think of to describe Earvin Johnson, the player, do him justice. Whether it was a behind-the-back pass to a teammate, or a big-money swish, or hitting the boards, Magic Johnson was always in control. It was amazing that a man 6-9 and 215 lbs. could do so many things with his body. Other than Oscar Robertson, no player is linked to the term "triple- double" more than Magic Johnson. He accomplished the feat with great regularity.

    Johnson won MVP honors and helped his team win championships with a patented and childlike enthusiasm born of absolutely pure love of basketball competition.           Beyond all the money and success and fame, it was obvious that he simply loved to play the game, and the more important the game, the better.

    If there was one aspect of Magicís game that awed people the most, it was his brilliant passing. He dazzled fans and dumbfounded opponents with no-look pinpoint passes off the fast break. The spinning feeds and overhand bullets under the basket were a work of art. That was my favorite part of his game, and Iím sure Iím not alone.

    In 13 seasons with the Lakers, Johnsonís stats were sensational. He averaged 19.5 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game (as a point guard), 11.4 assists per game, .846 from the free throw line, four blocks per game, and 1.9 steals per game. Chick Hearn is absolutely correct when he points out that Magic made all his teammates better.

    It should come as no shock to anyone that Earvin Johnson has been voted one of the "NBAís 50 Greatest Players of All Time."

Last Weekís Trivia

    What team owns the record for fewest yards rushing in a Super Bowl? The New England Patriots embarrassed themselves in Super Bowl XX. In their humiliating loss to the Chicago Bears, 46-10, they managed just seven yards rushing. It certainly speaks to my intelligence; I took New England and the points that day.

Trivia Question of the Week

    Who are the only two men to play for the Yankees, Dodgers, Giants and Mets? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.