Magic: The Life of Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Magic: The Life of Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Hermes, Will
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The definitive biography of the basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson, from the author of Michael Jordan: the Life.

Magic Johnson is one of the most beloved, and at times controversial, athletes in history. His iconic smile lifted the dowdy sport of American pro basketball from a second tier sport with low ratings into the global spotlight, a transformation driven by his ability to eviscerate opponents with a style that featured his grand sense of fun. He was a master entertainer who directed Los Angeles Lakers “Showtime” basketball to the heights of both glory and epic excess, all of it driven by his mind-blowing no-look passes and personal charm.

At the charismatic height of his power, Johnson then shocked the world with a startling cautionary tale about sexually transmitted disease that pushed public awareness of an HIV and AIDs crisis. Then out came his confession of unprotected sex with hundreds of women each year, a retirement, an attempted return, then a proper farewell on the iconic 1992 Olympic Dream Team.

Longtime biographer Roland Lazenby spent years tracking Johnson’s unlikely rise to become an immensely popular public figure who was instantly scandalized in 1991, then turned to his legendary will to rise again as a successful entrepreneur with another level of hard-won success in business. In his portrayal, Johnson's tale becomes bigger than that of one man. It is a generational saga over parts of three centuries that reveals much not just about his unique basketball journey but about America itself.

Through literally hundreds of interviews with Johnson’s coaches, representatives past and present, teammates, opponents, friends and loved ones, including key conversations with Johnson himself over the years, Lazenby has produced the first truly definitive study, both dark and light, of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr., the revolutionary player, the icon, the man.

  • Hardcover: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Celadon Books (October 24, 2023)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250248039