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Greatest Basketball Players - Earvin Magic Johnson - Michigan State Spartans

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March 26, 2008 AT 9:00 AM
Greatest NCAA College Basketball Careers of All Time: Earvin “Magic” Johnson Earvin Johnson was born in 1959 in Lansing, Michigan. It was as early as 15, when Johnson would receive his nickname “Magic” after scoring a triple double as a sophomore on his high school team. Even though his highly religious mother considered the name blasphemous, it stuck. Johnson decided to attend nearby Michigan State University, where he would play basketball under coach Jud Heathcote. Despite playing, Johnson had no desire to become a professional basketball player. He instead wanted to focus on communication studies and eventually become a TV commentator. Nevertheless, as a freshmen Johnson and the Spartans made it to the NCAA tournament after achieving a 25 and 5 record. While they would lose to Kentucky, the eventual champions, the following season they came back even stronger. As a sophomore, Johnson would switch between point guard and forward. This would prove to be a future tactic used in the NBA, as the oversized 6 foot 9 inch guard could not only handle the ball but dominate on the boards. In his second NCAA season, Johnson and the Spartans would make it all the way to the Finals against Larry Bird and the Indiana State Sycamores. After leading his Spartans to a 75-64 victory, Johnson was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. After only two years playing in the NCAA, Johnson would leave for the NBA with 1059 points and 471 rebounds over his career at Michigan State claiming he had achieved everything he wanted to in collegiate basketball. Magic Johnson was the first overall pick in 1979 draft by the New Orleans Jazz, however, after trading the pick, he would end up as a Los Angeles Laker where he played every year of his pro-career.