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Sophomore point guard Magic Johnson made the Spartans fly in 1979, and his two triple doubles capped an otherworldly NCAA run that would earn Michigan State its first national title and Johnson a statue on campus. “Every member of the team is a hero,” one Spartans fan gushed to SI that April, “but Magic is a legend.” (Rich Clarkson/SI)

GALLERY: Best Tourney Seeds Ever, 16-1

Sophomore point guard Magic Johnson made the Spartans fly in 1979, and his two triple doubles capped an otherworldly NCAA run that would earn Michigan State its first national title and Johnson a statue on campus. “Every member of the team is a hero,” one Spartans fan gushed to SI that April, “but Magic is a legend.” (Rich Clarkson/SI)
GALLERY: Best Tourney Seeds Ever, 16-1

Jack Nicholson, a devoted Lakers fan for decades, jumps on the back of Magic Johnson in 1986. (Brian Lanker/SI)

GALLERY: SI’s 100 Funniest Photos

Jack Nicholson, a devoted Lakers fan for decades, jumps on the back of Magic Johnson in 1986. (Brian Lanker/SI)
GALLERY: SI’s 100 Funniest Photos

Los Angeles Lakers (L-R) Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mitch Kupchak, coach Paul Westhead, Jamaal Wilkes and Magic Johnson pose in a classroom set during a photo shoot on Oct. 15, 1981. (Lane Stewart/SI)

Los Angeles Lakers (L-R) Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mitch Kupchak, coach Paul Westhead, Jamaal Wilkes and Magic Johnson pose in a classroom set during a photo shoot on Oct. 15, 1981. (Lane Stewart/SI)

Michigan State guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson dunks over Indiana State’s Bob Heaton during the national title game in Salt Lake City. Johnson was named Most Outstanding Player after Michigan State defeated Indiana State 75-64. (Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos)

GALLERY: NCAA Tournament Through The Years

Michigan State guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson dunks over Indiana State’s Bob Heaton during the national title game in Salt Lake City. Johnson was named Most Outstanding Player after Michigan State defeated Indiana State 75-64. (Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos)
GALLERY: NCAA Tournament Through The Years

Game 1 of the 1985 NBA Finals was dubbed the Memorial Day Massacre after the Celtics destroyed the Lakers 148-114. In the 34-point victory, Boston set a record for points in a half (79) and a game. But the blowout didn’t slow the Lakers, who won the series in six games. (Manny Millan/SI)

GALLERY: Memorable Memorial Day Moments

Game 1 of the 1985 NBA Finals was dubbed the Memorial Day Massacre after the Celtics destroyed the Lakers 148-114. In the 34-point victory, Boston set a record for points in a half (79) and a game. But the blowout didn’t slow the Lakers, who won the series in six games. (Manny Millan/SI)
GALLERY: Memorable Memorial Day Moments

Is Michigan State primed for another Final Four run? The Spartans dispatched Valparaiso 65-54 on Thursday and will next play the winner of the Memphis-St. Mary’s game. (Heinz Kluetmeier/SI)

GALLERY: Rare Photos of Magic Johnson
LIVE BRACKET: Follow all the action

Is Michigan State primed for another Final Four run? The Spartans dispatched Valparaiso 65-54 on Thursday and will next play the winner of the Memphis-St. Mary’s game. (Heinz Kluetmeier/SI)
GALLERY: Rare Photos of Magic JohnsonLIVE BRACKET: Follow all the action

Michigan State’s Magic Johnson dribbles the ball upcourt during a Feb. 1978 game against Ohio State. (Heinz Kluetmeier/SI)

Michigan State’s Magic Johnson dribbles the ball upcourt during a Feb. 1978 game against Ohio State. (Heinz Kluetmeier/SI)

Members of the Los Angeles Lakers — Norm Nixon (10), Mitch Kupchak (41), Michael Cooper (21), coach Paul Westhead, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), Jamaal Wilkes (52) and Magic Johnson (32) — sit in a classroom during an Oct. 1981 SI photo shoot. (Lane Stewart/SI)

GALLERY: Classic Photos of the Los Angeles Lakers

Members of the Los Angeles Lakers — Norm Nixon (10), Mitch Kupchak (41), Michael Cooper (21), coach Paul Westhead, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), Jamaal Wilkes (52) and Magic Johnson (32) — sit in a classroom during an Oct. 1981 SI photo shoot. (Lane Stewart/SI)
GALLERY: Classic Photos of the Los Angeles Lakers

Larry Bird intervenes as an angry Magic Johnson has words with Danny Ainge during Game 2 of the 1985 NBA Finals. The Lakers would wind up winning the game in overtime on their way to an NBA championship. (Manny Millan/SI)

GALLERY: Celtics vs. Lakers in the 1980s 

Larry Bird intervenes as an angry Magic Johnson has words with Danny Ainge during Game 2 of the 1985 NBA Finals. The Lakers would wind up winning the game in overtime on their way to an NBA championship. (Manny Millan/SI)GALLERY: Celtics vs. Lakers in the 1980s 

Magic Johnson sits by his locker before a 1987 game against the Suns. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

GALLERY: Classic Photos of Magic Johnson | Iconic Lakers Photos

Magic Johnson sits by his locker before a 1987 game against the Suns. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
GALLERY: Classic Photos of Magic Johnson | Iconic Lakers Photos

Happy 53rd birthday Magic Johnson. (Heinz Kluetmeier/SI)

GALLERY: Rare Photos of Magic Johnson | Magic and Larry Bird | Magic’s SI Covers

Happy 53rd birthday Magic Johnson. (Heinz Kluetmeier/SI)
GALLERY: Rare Photos of Magic Johnson | Magic and Larry Bird | Magic’s SI Covers

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson joke around during pregame warmups before a 1988 Celtics-Lakers game at Boston Garden. (Steve Lipofsky/Corbis)

GALLERY: Larry Bird and Magic Johnson | Iconic Celtics | Iconic Lakers

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson joke around during pregame warmups before a 1988 Celtics-Lakers game at Boston Garden. (Steve Lipofsky/Corbis)
GALLERY: Larry Bird and Magic Johnson | Iconic Celtics | Iconic Lakers

Adrian Dantley looks for space amidst the outstretched arms of Magic Johnson and James Worthy during Game 1 of the 1988 NBA Finals. The Pistons would win the game 105-93 but lose the series in seven. (Peter Read Miller/SI)  

GALLERY: Iconic Photos of the Los Angeles Lakers | Detroit Pistons

Adrian Dantley looks for space amidst the outstretched arms of Magic Johnson and James Worthy during Game 1 of the 1988 NBA Finals. The Pistons would win the game 105-93 but lose the series in seven. (Peter Read Miller/SI)  
GALLERY: Iconic Photos of the Los Angeles Lakers | Detroit Pistons

This week’s SI cover features Magic Johnson and Matt Kemp, owner and star player of the resurgent Dodgers. (Peter Read Miller/SI)

This week’s SI cover features Magic Johnson and Matt Kemp, owner and star player of the resurgent Dodgers. (Peter Read Miller/SI)

Michigan State guard Magic Johnson relaxes on the couch of his East Lansing home during a 1979 SI photo shoot. (Lane Stewart/SI)

GALLERY: Magic Johnson - The College Years

Michigan State guard Magic Johnson relaxes on the couch of his East Lansing home during a 1979 SI photo shoot. (Lane Stewart/SI)
GALLERY: Magic Johnson - The College Years