San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division; the team plays its home games at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. The Spurs are one of four former American Basketball Association teams to remain intact in the NBA after the 1976 ABA–NBA merger and are the only former ABA team to have won an NBA championship; the franchise has won NBA championships in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014. As of May 2015, the Spurs had the highest winning percentage among active NBA franchises; as of April 2019, the Spurs have won 22 division titles since joining the NBA and have only missed the playoffs four times. From 1999–2000 to 2016–17, the Spurs won 50 games each season, setting a record of 18 consecutive 50-win seasons. In the 2018–19 season, the Spurs matched an NBA record for most consecutive playoff appearances with 22; the team's recent success coincides with the tenure of current head coach Gregg Popovich, who has coached the team since 1996.
The Spurs are the city's only team in any of the four major U. S. professional sports leagues and the only major-league team in the city's history to have lasted more than five years. Spurs players are active members of the San Antonio community, many former Spurs are still active in San Antonio including David Robinson with the Carver Academy and George Gervin with the George Gervin Youth Center; the Spurs set several NBA attendance records while playing at the Alamodome including the largest crowd for an NBA Finals game in 1999, the Spurs continue to sell out the smaller AT&T Center on a regular basis. Since 2003, the team has been forced on an extended road trip for much of February since the AT&T Center hosts the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo; this is informally known as the "Rodeo Road Trip". The Spurs have posted winning road records during this period, including an NBA-record longest single road trip winning streak; when the Spurs have won the NBA title, the team's victory parades have been boat trips on the San Antonio River Walk.
The San Antonio Spurs started out as the Dallas Chaparrals of the original version of the American Basketball Association. Coached by player/coach Cliff Hagan the Dallas Chaparrals were one of 11 teams to take the floor in the inaugural season of the upstart ABA; the Chaps' second season was a bit of a disappointment, as the team finished in 4th place with a mediocre 41–37 record. In the playoffs the Chaparrals fell to the New Orleans Buccaneers; the team suffered from general disinterest in Dallas. In fact, during the 1970–71 season, the name "Dallas" was dropped in favor of "Texas" and an attempt was made to make the team a regional one, playing games in Fort Worth, at the Tarrant County Convention Center, as well as Lubbock, at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, but this proved a failure and the team returned full-time to Dallas in time for the 1971–72 season, splitting their games at Moody Coliseum and Dallas Convention Center Arena. While the Chaparrals had been modestly successful on the court, they were sinking financially by their third season because the ownership group refused to spend much money on the team.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in their existence in the 1972–73 season, nearly all of the owners wanted out. A group of 36 San Antonio businessmen, led by Manager/Angelo Drossos, Chairman of the Board/John Schaefer and President/Red McCombs, worked out a "lend-lease" deal with the Dallas ownership group. Drossos and his group would lease the team for three years and move it to San Antonio, agreed to return the team to Dallas if no purchase occurred by 1975. After the deal was signed, the team was renamed the San Antonio Gunslingers. However, before they played a game the name was changed to Spurs; the team's primary colors were changed from the red and blue of the Chaparrals to the now familiar black and white motif of the Spurs. In the first game at the HemisFair Arena the Spurs lost to the San Diego Conquistadors, despite attracting a noisy crowd of 6,000 fans. A smothering defense was the team's image, as they held opponents to less than 100 points for an ABA record of 49 times.
The early Spurs were led by ABA veteran James Silas, the team would get stronger as the season went on as they twice took advantage of the Virginia Squires, acquiring Swen Nater, who would go on to win Rookie of the Year, in November, "The Iceman" George Gervin in January. The ABA tried to halt the Gervin deal, claiming it was detrimental to the league, but a judge would rule in the Spurs' favor, Gervin made his Spurs debut on February 7; the Spurs would go on to finish with a 45 -- good for 3rd place in the Western Division. In the playoffs, the Spurs would battle the Indiana Pacers to the bitter end before falling in seven games. San Antonio embraced the Spurs with open arms. Schaefer, Drossos and McCombs knew a runaway hit. After only one year, they exercised their option to tear up the lease agreement, buy the franchise outright and keep the team in San Antonio for good; the team made themselves at home at HemisFair Arena, playing to large and raucous crowds. Despite a respectable 17–10 start during the 1974–75 season, Coach Tom Nissalke was fired as owners become tired of the Spurs' slow defensive style of games.
He would be replaced by Bob Bass, who stated that the Spurs would have an new playing style: "It is my belief that you cannot throw a set offense at another professional team for 48 minutes. You've got to
Eugene Scapes Littles is a retired American basketball player and coach. He played professional basketball for six years. Littles played college basketball at High Point University where he was the all-time leading scorer in High Point school history, a NAIA All-American. Afterward Littles was selected in the 5th round of the 1969 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks and in the 1969 ABA Draft by the Dallas Chaparrals. Littles opted to play in the American Basketball Association. Littles played for five seasons with the Carolina Cougars, he was named to the All-Rookie Team in 1970. He played for one season with the Kentucky Colonels. With Kentucky, Littles was a member of the Colonels team. After his playing career, Littles got into coaching, became an assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association. Littles served as the Head Basketball Coach at North Carolina A&T from 1977 to 1979. Littles led the team to two straight MEAC Tournament Championships, he got his first taste of NBA head coaching when George Karl was dismissed at the end of the 1985–86 season.
The Cavaliers next year hired Lenny Wilkens, however. In 1990, Littles got a second NBA head coaching job, with the Charlotte Hornets—replacing Dick Harter, he lasted as season and a half with the recent-expansion Hornets, until he was replaced with Allan Bristow at the end of the 1990–91 season. Littles became an assistant with the Denver Nuggets, served as an interim coach during the 1994–95 season, in between Dan Issel and Bernie Bickerstaff. BasketballReference.com: Gene Littles BasketballReference.com: Gene Littles
Larry Johnson (basketball, born 1969)
Lawrence Demetric Johnson is an American retired basketball player who spent his professional career in the National Basketball Association with the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks. At an listed height of 6'7" tall, he played at the power forward position, due to his strength. In his senior year of high school Johnson was a member of the 1987 McDonald's High School All-American Team that included future NCAA and NBA stars like Marcus Liberty, Elliot Perry, Mark Macon, Rodney Monroe, Dennis Scott, Elmore Spencer, Chris Corchiani, fellow Texas prep star LaBradford Smith. Johnson made a verbal commitment to Southern Methodist University, but began his collegiate career at Odessa College in Texas, he played in the 1987–88 and 1988–89 seasons where he averaged 22.3 points per game as a freshman and over 29 points per game his sophomore year, became the first—and to this day, only—player to win the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1 Player of the Year award both years he played.
There were some basketball analysts who believed Johnson could have been a first round selection in the 1989 NBA draft if he had declared for early entry. Johnson transferred to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to play under head coach Jerry Tarkanian. Alongside future NBA players Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony, Johnson faced the Duke Blue Devils in the title game of the 1990 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. UNLV went on to win the contest by a score of 103–73, with Johnson contributing 22 points and 11 rebounds; the Runnin' Rebels set simultaneous NCAA records for the largest margin of victory and highest score in an NCAA Tournament championship game. In a post-season mired by charges of recruiting violations and misconduct by UNLV, an agreement was reached between the university and the NCAA to allow for the defense of their title for the 1990–91 season, which would be followed by a suspension from post-season play the following season. Johnson and the Runnin' Rebels responded with a perfect regular season record of 27–0, with an average scoring margin of 26.7 points per game.
In the 1991 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, UNLV won the West Regional Tournament only to be upset by eventual champion Duke in the Final Four. Johnson was named a First Team All-American twice, won the Big West Conference Player of the Year and tournament Most Valuable Player awards in 1990 and 1991, he won the prestigious John R. Wooden Award and was named Naismith College Player of the Year in 1991. To this day, Johnson is ranked 12th in career scoring and 7th in rebounding at UNLV despite playing only two seasons, he holds the record for single-season and career field goal percentage. In 2002, Johnson and teammates Augmon and Anthony were inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame along with the 1990–91 UNLV men's basketball team. To date they are the only UNLV team to make back-to-back Final Four appearances. Johnson was selected first overall in the 1991 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in his first season, he competed in the 1992 Slam Dunk Contest at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, finishing second to Cedric Ceballos of the Phoenix Suns.
In 1993, Johnson was voted to start in that year's All-Star Game, making him the first Hornet in franchise history to receive that honor. Along with Alonzo Mourning, Muggsy Bogues and Dell Curry, Johnson played with the Hornets at the height of their popularity in the early to mid-1990s. During this time, who went by his initialism "LJ" and the nickname "Grandmama", was featured on the cover of the premiere issue of SLAM. In October 1993, Johnson signed what was at the time the most lucrative contract in NBA history, a 12-year, $84 million deal with the Hornets. However, he missed 31 games after spraining his back on December 27, 1993 in a game against the Detroit Pistons. During the summer he played for the U. S. national team in the 1994 FIBA World Championship, winning the gold medal. Johnson had entered the league as an explosive power forward, averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. However, after the injury to his back, Johnson was forced to develop an all-around game with an improved outside shot.
In the 1994–95 season, he made 81 three-pointers, nearly 60 more than in his first three years combined, was selected to the 1995 NBA All-Star Game. Friction between Johnson and Mourning forced the organization to make a change, the resulting moves made by the Hornets left both players on other teams. Prior to the 1995 -- 96 season, Mourning was traded to the Miami Heat for Matt Geiger. Following that season Johnson was dealt to the New York Knicks for Brad Lohaus. Johnson averaged 12.8 points, a career-low, in his first season as a Knick, although he would never return to his former All-Star form, he was a key member of the Knicks' 1999 Eastern Conference championship team. During Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he was involved in a critical play in which he was fouled by Antonio Davis of the Indiana Pacers. Standing outside the three-point line with 11.9 seconds left, Johnson held the ball, began to dribble. He leaned into defender Davis before jumping up; the referee called the foul about a half-second before Johnson released the ball, b
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, more referred to as the Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference; the team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city; the team, established by Ned Irish in 1946, was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America, which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League in 1949. The Knicks were successful during their early years and were constant playoff contenders under the franchise's first head coach Joe Lapchick. Beginning in 1950, the Knicks made three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, all of which were losing efforts.
Lapchick resigned in 1956 and the team subsequently began to falter. It was not until the late 1960s when Red Holzman became head coach that the Knicks began to regain their former dominance. Holzman guided the Knicks to two NBA championships, in 1970 and 1973; the Knicks of the 1980s had mixed success. The playoff-level Knicks of the 1990s were led by future Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing. During this time, they were known for playing tough defense under head coaches Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, making two appearances in the NBA Finals, in 1994 and 1999. However, they were unable to win an NBA championship during this era. Since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former glory, but won its first division title in 19 years in 2012–13, led by a core of forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semi-finals by the Indiana Pacers, have failed to make the playoffs since. In 1946, basketball college basketball, was a growing and profitable sport in New York City.
Hockey generated considerable profits. Max Kase, a New York sportswriter, became the sports editor at the Boston American in the 1930s, when he met Boston Garden owner Walter A. Brown. Kase developed the idea of an organized professional league to showcase college players upon their graduation and felt it could become profitable if properly assembled. Brown, intrigued by the opportunity to attain additional income when the hockey teams were not playing or on the road, contacted several arena owners. On June 6, 1946, Kase and Brown and a group of seventeen others assembled at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, as the Basketball Association of America, where charter franchises were granted to major cities throughout the country. Ned Irish, a college basketball promoter, retired sportswriter and president of Madison Square Garden, was in attendance. Kase planned to own and operate the New York franchise himself and approached Irish with a proposal to lease the Garden. Irish explained that the rules of the Arena Managers Association of America stated that Madison Square Garden was required to own any professional teams that played in the arena.
On the day of the meeting, Kase made his proposal to the panel of owners. Irish wanted a distinct name for his franchise, representative of the city of New York, he called together members of his staff for a meeting to cast their votes in a hat. After tallying the votes, the franchise was named the Knickerbockers; the "Knickerbocker" name comes from the pseudonym used by Washington Irving in his book A History of New York, a name that became applied to the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of what became New York, by extension, to New Yorkers in general. In search of a head coach, Irish approached successful St. John's University coach Joe Lapchick in May 1946. Lapchick accepted after Irish promised to make him the highest paid coach in the league. Irish obliged, hiring former Manhattan College coach Neil Cohalan as interim coach for the first year. With no college draft in the league's initial year, there was no guarantee that the Knicks or the league itself would thrive. Teams focused on signing college players from their respective cities as a way to promote the professional league.
The Knicks held their first training camp in the Catskill Mountains at the Nevele Country Club. Twenty-five players were invited to attend the three-week session. Players worked out twice a day and the chemistry between the New York natives was instant. With a roster assembled, the Knicks faced the Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on November 1, 1946, in what would be the franchise's first game—as well as the first in league history. In a low-scoring affair presented in front of 7,090 spectators, the Knicks defeated the Huskies 68–66 with Leo Gottlieb leading the Knicks in scoring with 14 points. With Madison Square Garden's crowded schedule, the Knicks were forced to play many of their home games at the 69th Regiment Armory during the team's early years; the Knicks went on to finish their inaugural campaign with a 33–27 record and achieved a playoff berth under Cohalan despite a dismal shooting percentage of 28 perce
The Philadelphia 76ers are an American professional basketball team based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The 76ers compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division and play at Wells Fargo Center. Founded in 1946 and known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA, one of only eight to survive the league's first decade; the 76ers have had a rich history, with many of the greatest players in NBA history having played for the organization, including Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson. They have won three NBA championships, with their first coming as the Syracuse Nationals in 1955; the second title came in 1967, a team, led by Chamberlain. The third title came in 1983, won by a team led by Malone; the 76ers have only been back to the NBA Finals once since then: in 2001, where they were led by Iverson and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.
In 1946, Italian immigrant Daniel Biasone sent a $5,000 check to the National Basketball League offices in Chicago, the Syracuse Nationals became the Midwest-based league's easternmost team, based in the Upstate New York city of Syracuse. The Syracuse Nationals began play in the NBL in the same year professional basketball was gaining some legitimacy with the rival Basketball Association of America, based in large cities like New York and Philadelphia. While in the NBL with teams consisting of small Midwestern towns, the Nationals put together a 21–23 record, finishing in fourth place. In the playoffs, the Nationals would be beaten by the fellow upstate neighbor Rochester Royals in four games. In their second season, 1947–48, the Nationals would struggle, finishing in fifth place with a 24–36 record. Despite their struggles, the Nationals would make the playoffs, getting swept by the Anderson Duffey Packers in 3 straight games. Several teams began to leave the NBL for the BAA; the Nationals "recipe for success" began by recruiting Leo Ferris.
Staying in the NBL, Ferris signed Al Cervi to be player coach and outbid the New York Knicks for the services of Dolph Schayes who made his professional debut, leading the Nationals to a winning record for the first time with a record of 41–22. In the playoffs the Nationals would make quick work of the Hammond Calumet Buccaneers, winning the series in 2 straight games. However, in the semifinals the Nationals would fall to the Anderson Duffey Packers for the second straight season in four games. In 1949, the Nationals were one of seven NBL teams that were absorbed by the Basketball Association of America to form the NBA; the Nationals were an instant success in the NBA, winning the Eastern Division in the 1949–50 season, with a league best record of 51–13. In the playoffs the Nationals continued to play solid basketball, beating the Philadelphia Warriors in 2 straight. Moving on to the Eastern Finals, the Nationals battled the New York Knickerbockers, beating their big city rivals in a 3-game series.
In the NBA Finals, the Nationals faced. In Game 1 of the Finals the Nationals lost just their second home game of the season 68–66; the Nationals did not recover. Despite several teams leaving the NBA for the National Professional Basketball League before the 1950–51 season, the Nationals decided to stay put. In their second NBA season, 1950–51, the Nationals played mediocre basketball all season, finishing in fourth place with a record of 32–34. However, in the playoffs the Nationals played their best basketball of the season as they stunned the first place Warriors in two straight, taking Game 1 on the road in overtime 91–89. In the Eastern Finals the Nationals were beaten by the New York Knickerbockers in a hard-fought 5-game series, losing the finale by just 2 points. Cervi, playing less and coaching more, emphasized a patient offense and a scrappy defense, which led the league in the 1951–52 season by yielding a stingy 79.5 points per game as the Nationals won the Eastern Division with a solid 40–26 record.
In the playoffs the Nationals knocked off the Warriors again in a 3-game series. However, in the Eastern Finals the Nationals fell to the Knickerbockers again, dropping the series in four games; the Nationals would finish in second place in a hard-fought 3-way battle for first place in the Eastern Division for the 1952–53 season, with a record of 47–24. In the playoffs the Nationals would face the Boston Celtics dropping Game 1 at home 87–81. Needing a win in Boston to keep their hopes alive, the Nationals would take the Celtics deep into overtime before losing in quadruple OT 111–105, in what remains the longest playoff game in NBA history; the Nationals acquired Alex Groza, Ralph Beard as the Indianapolis Olympians folded leaving the NBA with just 9 teams for the 1953–54 season. Once again the Nationals would battle for the Division title falling two games short with a 42–30 record. In the playoffs the Nationals would win all four games of a round robin tournament involving the three playoff teams from the East.
In the Eastern Finals the Nationals would stay hot beating the Celtics in 2 straight games. However, in the NBA Finals the Nationals would lose to the Lakers in a hard-fought 7-game series where the 2 teams alternated wins throughout. With the NBA struggling financially and down to just 8 teams Nationals owner during the 1954–55 season, Biasone suggested the league limit the amount of time taken for a shot thus speeding up a game that ended with long periods of teams just holding the ball and playing keep away. Biasone and Nationals' general manager
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws; the team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play is mandated. Players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running or by passing it to a teammate, both of which require considerable skill. On offense, players may use a variety of shots -- a dunk, it is a violation to lift or drag one's pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands resume dribbling.
The five players on each side at a time fall into five playing positions: the tallest player is the center, the tallest and strongest is the power forward, a shorter but more agile big man is the small forward, the shortest players or the best ball handlers are the shooting guard and the point guard, who implements the coach's game plan by managing the execution of offensive and defensive plays. Informally, players may play three-on-three, two-on-two, one-on-one. Invented in 1891 by Canadian-American gym teacher James Naismith in Springfield, United States, basketball has evolved to become one of the world's most popular and viewed sports; the National Basketball Association is the most significant professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries and level of competition. Outside North America, the top clubs from national leagues qualify to continental championships such as the Euroleague and FIBA Americas League; the FIBA Basketball World Cup and Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament are the major international events of the sport and attract top national teams from around the world.
Each continent hosts regional competitions for national teams, like FIBA AmeriCup. The FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup and Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament feature top national teams from continental championships; the main North American league is the WNBA, whereas strongest European clubs participate in the EuroLeague Women. In early December 1891, Canadian James Naismith, a physical education professor and instructor at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School in Springfield, was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day, he sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New England winters. After rejecting other ideas as either too rough or poorly suited to walled-in gymnasiums, he wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot elevated track. In contrast with modern basketball nets, this peach basket retained its bottom, balls had to be retrieved manually after each "basket" or point scored.
Basketball was played with a soccer ball. These round balls from "association football" were made, at the time, with a set of laces to close off the hole needed for inserting the inflatable bladder after the other sewn-together segments of the ball's cover had been flipped outside-in; these laces could dribbling to be unpredictable. A lace-free ball construction method was invented, this change to the game was endorsed by Naismith; the first balls made for basketball were brown, it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball, now in common use. Dribbling was not part of the original game except for the "bounce pass" to teammates. Passing the ball was the primary means of ball movement. Dribbling was introduced but limited by the asymmetric shape of early balls. Dribbling was common by 1896, with a rule against the double dribble by 1898; the peach baskets were used until 1906 when they were replaced by metal hoops with backboards.
A further change was soon made, so the ball passed through. Whenever a person got the ball in the basket, his team would gain a point. Whichever team got; the baskets were nailed to the mezzanine balcony of the playing court, but this proved impractical when spectators in the balcony began to interfere with shots. The backboard was introduced to prevent this interference. Naismith's handwritten diaries, discovered by his granddaughter in early 2006, indicate that he was nervous about the new game he had invented, which incorporated rules from a children's game called duck on a rock, as many had failed before it. Frank Mahan, one of the players from the original
Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. is an American retired professional basketball player and former president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. He played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons. After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA draft by the Lakers, he won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996, at age 36, to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time. Johnson's career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations.
He led the league in regular-season assists four times, is the NBA's all-time leader in average assists per game, at 11.2. Johnson was a member of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, which won the Olympic gold medal in 1992. After leaving the NBA in 1992, Johnson formed the Magic Johnson All-Stars, a barnstorming team that travelled around the world playing exhibition games. Johnson was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. Johnson became a two-time inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame—being enshrined in 2002 for his individual career, again in 2010 as a member of the "Dream Team", he was rated the greatest NBA point guard of all time by ESPN in 2007. His friendship and rivalry with Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, whom he faced in the 1979 NCAA finals and three NBA championship series, are well documented. Since his retirement, Johnson has been an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex, as well as an entrepreneur, philanthropist and motivational speaker.
His public announcement of his HIV-positive status in 1991 helped dispel the stereotype, still held at the time, that HIV was a "gay disease" that heterosexuals need not worry about. Named by Ebony magazine as one of America's most influential black businessmen in 2009, Johnson has numerous business interests, was a part-owner of the Lakers for several years. Johnson is part of a group of investors that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 and the Los Angeles Sparks in 2014. Earvin Johnson Jr. was born in Lansing, the son of General Motors assembly worker Earvin Sr. and school janitor Christine. Johnson, who had six siblings, was influenced by his parents' strong work ethic, his mother spent many hours after work each night cleaning their home and preparing the next day's meals, while his father did janitorial work at a used car lot and collected garbage, all while never missing a day at General Motors. Johnson would help his father on the garbage route, he was teased by neighborhood children who called him "Garbage Man".
Johnson came to love basketball as a youngster. His favorite basketball player was Bill Russell, whom he admired more for his many championships than his athletic ability, he idolized players such as Earl Monroe and Marques Haynes, practiced "all day". Johnson came from an athletic family, his father played high school basketball in his home state of Mississippi, Johnson learned the finer points about the game from him. Johnson's mother from North Carolina, had played basketball as a child, she grew up watching her brothers play the game. By the time he had reached the eighth grade, Johnson had begun to think about a future in basketball, he had become a dominant junior high player. Johnson looked forward to playing at Sexton High School, a school with a successful basketball team and history that happened to be only five blocks from his home, his plans underwent a dramatic change when he learned that he would be bused to the predominately white Everett High School instead of going to Sexton, predominately black.
Johnson's sister Pearl and his brother Larry had bused to Everett the previous year and did not have a pleasant experience. There were incidents of racism, with rocks being thrown at buses carrying black students and white parents refusing to send their children to school. Larry was kicked off the basketball team after a confrontation during practice, prompting him to beg his brother not to play. Johnson did join the basketball team but became angry after several days when his new teammates ignored him during practice, not passing the ball to him, he nearly got into a fight with another player. Johnson accepted his situation and the small group of black students looked to him as their leader; when recalling the events in his autobiography, My Life, he talked about how his time at Everett had changed him: Johnson was first dubbed "Magic" as a 15-year-old sophomore playing for Everett High School, when he recorded a triple-double of 36 points, 18 rebounds, 16 assists. After the game, Fred Stabley Jr. a sports writer for the Lansing State Journal, gave him the moniker despite the belief of Johnson's mother, a Christian, that the name was sacrilegious.
In his final high school season, Johnson led Everett to a 27–1 win–loss record while averaging 28.8 points and 16.8 rebounds per game, took his team to an overtime victory in the state championship game. Johnson dedicated the championship victory to his best friend Reggie Chastine, killed in a car accident the p