November 7, 2011

20 Years Ago Today My Life Changed Forever...

On November 7th, 1991 I was a very happy go lucky 12 year old teenage boy who had many obsessions: Video Games, Girls, and Jordan's were all very high on my list. But nothing came before NBA basketball. Nothing. Michael Jordan was just starting his reign as the greatest player ever, the Knicks were extremely competitive and breaking my heart year after year, and the Lakers were still Showtiming it all over the floor lead by Earvin "Magic" Johnson. As a Knick fan, I could not root for Jordan, Isiah Thomas or Larry Bird because of the natural enemies they played to my favorite team. But Magic was a different story. He was exactly that... Magic. Watching him play the game was like poetry in motion...

Click after the jump for the rest...




Magic was a big man, towering in at over 6'9 and weighing about 220 lbs. This was not uncommon for NBA players, but it was considering what Magic was known for. Magic played the point guard position. This position was usually manned by guys that were between5'11-6'2 and weighed 160-185 lbs. Magic was a giant compared to them, and he moved smoother than silk. Frankly, he moved better than most of the guys who were smaller then him. This was important to me, because I was a big boy. Despite my size, passing was by far my favorite part of the game. And nobody, I MEAN NOBODY, passed the ball like Magic. See for yourself:



Good lord... the man is poetic to watch. I modeled my whole game around Magic, albeit nowhere nearly as good as him. While every kid on my CYO little league basketball team was busy fighting over who would get #23, I gladly rocked #32 my WHOLE basketball career. I even used the Lakers in every incarnation of the classic "Lakers vs " Sega Genesis games.


 His no look, fake pass layup in those games was the sickest move in the game (except for Chambers double pump dunk from the three point line... sick!). But watching him and the Lakers was a necessity for any the fan of the NBA. Johnson lost the NBA title to Michael Jordan in 1991, and he was ready to make another attempt at garnering his 6th NBA title. The 1991-92 season had just gotten underway, and it was poised to be a great one. Then tragedy struck...



I was crushed. Even though I was hurt on the level that I knew this meant I was never gonna see one of my favorite players suit up anymore, that wasn't what made me the most sad. I was mostly devastated because I thought this meant Magic would be dead... and soon. HIV &AIDS was one of the scariest epidemics in the history of the world, and it was at the height of this hysteria in 1991. No one knew how long you could live with the disease, how long before you started to deteriorate, or how it could be transmitted. So this lead to even  more of a shock for me... last week Magic was opening up the season, and this week he had just announced a death sentence. I was crushed. I was so mad at him... how could he do this to all of us? I know that sounds selfish, but I also know that lots of people felt the same way. It made me not want to watch the NBA anymore.


Well, here we are 20 years later. Magic has done just fine, and he is quite alive. My man played in the 1992 All Star game and won the MVP despite being out of competition for over 4 months. Later that year he would become a member of the one and only Dream Team, helping them to an Olympic gold medal. He would also have a late night talk show, star in a Michael Jackson music video, make a few aborted comebacks in the NBA, and became the first private businessman to be allowed to purchase a Starbucks franchise. He parlayed those Starbucks into a billion dollar business conglomerate and is now widely considered to be one of the greatest business minds in the world right now. Oh, and he is healthy as an ox. Dude looks better now then he did in his NBA prime.  I couldn't be happier. I love Magic, and I am truly happy he is here with us today. I am a lifelong fan. and I will always will be. Every time I throw a no-look pass on the court, I will always be thinking of #32. Happy 20th anniversary Magic... glad to see you still here. Hopefully it will be for another 100 more!!!

1 comment:

  1. Who the hell would have thought Magic Johnson would have outlived Michael Jackson?

    ReplyDelete