My Life by Earvin "magic" JohnsonMy Life by Earvin "magic" Johnson

My Life

byEarvin "magic" Johnson

Mass Market Paperback | September 1, 1993

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“A true emotional phenomenon . . . Entertaining . . . Of particular interest to fans will be the evolution of Johnson’s relationship with Bird, his great karmic partner in the game.”—Newsday (New York)

He's faced challenges all of his life, but now Magic Johnson faces the biggest challenge of all, his own brave battle with HIV. In this dramatic, exciting, and inspirational autobiography, Magic Johnson allows readers into his life, into his tirumphs and tragedies on and off the court. In his own exuberant style, he tells readers of the friends and family who've been constant supporters and the basketball greats he’s worked with. It’s all here, the glory and the pain the character, charisma, and courage of the hero called Magic.

AN ALTERNATE SELECTION OF THE BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB
Earvin “Magic” Johnson—known worldwide for his talent on the basketball court—has an equally impressive career off the court. As the chairman and chief executive officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises, he has helped launch major business initiatives focused on revitalizing ethnically diverse urban communities by bringing brand-name busin...
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Title:My LifeFormat:Mass Market PaperbackProduct dimensions:400 pages, 6.9 × 4.2 × 1.04 inShipping dimensions:6.9 × 4.2 × 1.04 inPublished:September 1, 1993Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0449222543

ISBN - 13:9780449222546

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome great book got to buy it
Date published: 2006-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent book This autobiography which Magic Johnson wrote is a very emotional book. Magic allows us to look inside his life in a very deep and emotional aspect. He is my hero.
Date published: 2000-08-29

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 1     LOVE AND DISCIPLINE   I grew up in the kind of black family that people today worry is disappearing. Even though there were nine of us, we had what we needed—two great parents, food on the table, and time for the whole family to be together. To provide for us, my parents worked terribly hard. My father had two full-time jobs, and Mom worked just as hard to keep the household going. Seven kids kept her busy, but she also had jobs outside the home.   This was in Lansing, Michigan, an hour and a half from Detroit. Our family lived in a modest yellow frame house at 814 Middle Street, on the west side of town. It was a stable neighborhood of working people. It wasn’t the suburbs, but it wasn’t the ghetto, either.   Besides being the state capital, Lansing is also a big factory town. General Motors was really cooking during the 1950s, so there were plenty of jobs. Wages were good, which is why so many blacks, including my parents, moved up to Lansing from the rural South. Most of the fathers I knew, including mine, worked for GM or one of its subsidiaries.   Lansing was a great place to grow up. There was a real small-town atmosphere; people waved to one another and said hello on the street. We knew the whole neighborhood, and the families I grew up with did almost everything together—church, school, Boys’ Club, ice skating, and going to basketball games at Sexton, the local high school. Whatever I did, or whatever small trouble I got into, my parents always knew about it—sometimes even before I got home.   You can’t get away with much in a community like that. The men would get to the shop and say, “Hey, I saw your boy today.” You knew that if you acted up, you would catch hell from whatever adult was around. But that didn’t stop your parents from disciplining you again when you got home.   I was born on August 14, 1959, the middle of seven children. Quincy, Larry, and Pearl were older, and Kim and the twins—Evelyn and Yvonne—came along afterward. My mother says I was a jolly baby who smiled a lot, and that I let just about anybody pick me up and play with me. That sounds about right.   Our family was squeezed into three small bedrooms on the second floor: one room for our parents, one for my four sisters, and one for the three boys. The place turned into a real madhouse before school every morning, when we all lined up to use the one bathroom. You learned to be quick.   In addition to the seven of us, my parents had three other kids from before they were married. Michael, Lois, and Mary lived in the South, but they often came to stay with us. And we always considered them part of our family.   I was chubby before I grew tall, and when I was young people called me June Bug. Grown-ups in the neighborhood would be going off to work, and when they passed me with my basketball, I’d hear them say, “There goes that crazy June Bug, hoopin’ all day.” My parents called me Junior, but to my friends I was E.J., or sometimes just E. People from Lansing still call me that.   My original nickname disappeared a long time ago, which is fine with me. Man, I’m glad I didn’t have to go through my professional career with that name: “And now, ladies and gentlemen, playing guard for the world-champion Los Angeles Lakers, June Bug Johnson!”   We were a close-knit family, and we had fun together. Just about every Saturday night we had a pizza party. Mom would cook up a batch of homemade pies with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and hamburger. After supper, we’d all move into the living room with big bowls of popcorn to watch TV.   We watched a lot of television when I was a kid, shows like Barnaby Jones, Mannix, Columbo, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. There weren’t many black shows on in those days, but we did watch Sanford and Son, The Flip Wilson Show, and Julia, with Diahann Carroll. On Sunday nights Ed Sullivan was our man, partly because he featured so many black entertainers.   But when I think back on how television influenced me, what comes to mind isn’t a program, but a commercial for Camay soap. It showed a tall, elegant lady who seemed to live in a castle. She was about to step into a huge, sunken bathtub. For some reason, that tub just called out to me. That’s it, I decided. When I grow up, I’m going to live in a big mansion with a gigantic bathtub just like that one.   The next time that commercial came on, I turned to my sister Pearl, who’s a year ahead of me. “See that bathtub?” I said. “Someday I’m gonna have one just like that in my house.”   “Yeah, right,” said Pearl, and I never mentioned it again. But today I have a big house with a huge bathtub that reminds me of the one in that commercial. And Pearl has even been in it.   My other notion of what it meant to be rich came from one of my part-time jobs. There were two successful black businessmen in Lansing, Joel Ferguson and Gregory Eaton, who owned nice homes and drove nice cars, and everybody admired them. I used to clean their offices. Whenever I went over there, I’d sit in those big leather chairs and put my feet up on those wide desks. I’d pretend I owned the place, and I’d start giving orders to my staff: “Do this. Take care of that.” I’d imagine that everybody in the whole building worked for me, and that I had the respect of the entire town.   Unlike Detroit, Lansing was mostly white. Just about every black family in town lived on either the west side or the east side. But these two men owned large, beautiful homes, and they could afford to live anywhere they wanted.   In those days, I never dreamed that someday I would play basketball for a living. My goal was to be a rich businessman, just like Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Eaton.   With so many kids to take care of, my parents didn’t have much money left over for luxuries. We always had enough to eat, but there were plenty of things I wanted and just couldn’t have, like a ten-speed bike or blue jeans. Clothes were a special problem for me because I grew into a new size every two weeks. (My brothers and sisters were all taller than average, but nothing like me.) The fanciest thing I owned was a suit with a reversible jacket that I wore to church. One week it was black, and the next Sunday I turned it around and it was checkered.   My parents believed in work—not only for themselves, but for their children, too. They expected all of us to help out around the house. Like my brothers and sisters, I washed the dishes, took out the trash, vacuumed, cooked, and took care of the twins—although I was only two years older than they were.   Dad didn’t believe in handouts. So as a kid, the only way I could get my hands on any spending money was to go out and earn it. By the time I was ten I had my own little neighborhood business. I raked leaves, cleaned yards, and shoveled snow. With the money I earned, I could go to the movies and buy an occasional record.   Dad was my idol, so I paid close attention to the way he handled his money. As a way of forcing himself to save, he always kept two or three uncashed checks in his wallet. There were times when I thought he was a little too careful, especially when he wouldn’t buy me something I thought I needed. But then I’d hear, “You want five dollars, Junior? Here, take the lawn mower. There’s a lot of grass in this town, and I bet you could earn that money real quick.”   He hated to borrow, and he often warned us about the dangers of going into debt. One of the happiest days of his life was when he made the final mortgage payment on our house. But he was generous, too. When his friends needed a few bucks, he was always willing to help.   Through basketball and my business interests, I’ve been blessed with a great income, far more than my father ever dreamed of. A couple of years before Cookie and I got married, I bought a big new house in Beverly Hills that cost me $7.2 million. But I’m still my father’s son, and some things just don’t change.   When I bought the house, my accountant advised me not to make too large a down payment. For tax purposes, he explained, it was better to pay off the mortgage over many years. I knew he was right, but I just couldn’t do it that way. Instead, I put down $6.2 million, which was more than 85 percent of the total price. But I still didn’t feel right, and a few months later, I wrote out a check for that last million. I just hated the idea of that mortgage—or any debt—hanging over my head.   I rarely saw my father with a drink in his hand, and nobody was allowed to smoke in our house. But my parents had lots of friends, and Dad enjoyed dressing up for parties. I used to look forward to the day I could dress like him. When GQ put me on their cover a few years ago, I was so proud that I sent it to him right away.   He loved the old blues singers like B. B. King and Muddy Waters. He had their 45’s—the albums were too expensive—and every three minutes, when the record was over, it was my job to go over to the record player and start it again. We’d sit together on the living-room couch on weekend afternoons, and I’d wait for him to doze off. As soon as he was sleeping, I’d take off his record and put on one of mine—the Jackson Five, the Commodores, or the Temptations.  

From Our Editors

First time in paperback, for readers of all ages--the inspiring national bestseller by a true American hero, on and off the court. In this dramatic and exciting autobiography, National Basketball Association legend Magic Johnson allows us into his life, and into his triumphs and tragedies