Basketball icon and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson will deliver the keynote speech at the 42nd annual “Y” Sports Dinner on Thursday, June 19, 2014.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr. played point guard for the Los Angeles 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, and 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, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA’s all-time leader in average assists per game, at 11.2. Johnson was a member of the “Dream Team”, the U.S. basketball team that 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, and enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. 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, broadcaster and motivational speaker.
Individual and corporate table tickets for the dinner are on sale by calling 204-477-7513 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. [WINNIPEG FREE PRESS]