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Roland Lazenby, "Magic"

Magic Johnson is one of the most beloved, and at times controversial, athletes in history. His iconic smile lifted the dowdy sport of American professional basketball from a second-tier sport with low ratings into the global spotlight—a transformation driven by Magic’s ability to eviscerate opponents with a playing style that featured his grand sense of fun. He was a master entertainer who directed the Los Angeles “Showtime” Lakers to the heights of both glory and epic excess, all of it driven by his mind-blowing no-look passes and personal charm.

Then, in 1991, at the height of his charismatic power, Johnson shocked the world with a startling cautionary tale about sexually transmitted disease that pushed public awareness of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Then out came his confession of unprotected sex with hundreds of women each year, followed by his retirement, an attempted return, and a proper farewell on the iconic 1992 Olympic Dream Team.

Longtime biographer Roland Lazenby spent years tracking the unlikely ascension of Johnson—an immensely popular public figure who was instantly scandalized but who then turned to his legendary will to rise again as a successful entrepreneur with another level of hard-won success. In Lazenby’s portrayal, Johnson’s tale becomes bigger than that of one man. It is a generational saga spanning parts of three centuries that reveals a great deal, not just about his unique basketball journey but about America itself.

Through hundreds of interviews with Johnson’s coaches, representatives past and present, teammates, opponents, friends, and loved ones, as well as key conversations with Johnson himself over the years, Lazenby has produced the first truly definitive study, both dark and light, of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr.—the revolutionary player, the icon, the man.

About the Author: 

Roland Lazenby is the author of definitive biographies of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Jerry West, among other books. He has spent the past three decades interviewing NBA players, coaches, staff members, and other figures while writing about the league.

About the Program: 

  • This FREE event will be presented in-person and virtually.   
  • To attend in person please register here
  • Doors will open to registered attendees at 6 pm. 
  • Free parking vouchers are available to program attendees who park at the Franklin Street Garage (15 W. Franklin Street).  Ask Pratt event staff for your parking voucher prior to or after the program.

Monday, March 4 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Central Library, Poe Reading Room
400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Event Type

Writers LIVE!, Virtual Event

Age Group

Adults

Compass Category

Writers LIVE at the Library

Event Publisher

Cleve Corner, Manager of Speaker & Author Engagement

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