Magic Johnson: Michigan State's face of the program

Biz Markie said it best: Put some pride in your eye and read about Magic Johnson's support of the MSU program.

Michigan State will participate in the school’s eighth appearance in the NCAA tournament’s Final Four this weekend. This is current head coach Tim Izzo’s sixth appearance with MSU.

As the clock ticked down and the Spartans won an incredible game against Tennessee in the regional final the camera panned to the most famous Spartan of all, Magic Johnson.

There he was decked out in green and white cheering on his alma mater. Paul Banks caught up with him afterwards to get his reaction to the win. He gave a quick break down of the game and praised the team and Coach Izzo. He admitted he was nervous during the game. The pride in his program was evident.

This was not an unfamiliar scene for Michigan State fans as Johnson is no stranger to Spartan games. He is known to keep up with players, visit the locker room and give support wherever needed.  

Johnson’s story is well known. He grew up in the state of Michigan and chose to play basketball close to home spurning the likes of UCLA and Indiana. His sophomore year in 1979 he led the team to the national championship game against Larry Bird’s Indiana State team.  Michigan State won the most watched championship game in history with Johnson named the Most Outstanding player.

Johnson went on to the NBA the next year being selected first by the Los Angeles Lakers in the draft. He has won five NBA championships and is a hugely successful business man.  But he obviously hasn’t forgotten where he has come from.

A lot of players give money and on occasion show up for a game or two. But Johnson is always there dressed head to toe in his MSU gear. It means more to be there just to support the team as an alum and as a fan.  

There are other famous alums that attend games. It’s hard to miss Ashley Judd at Kentucky games.  Matthew McConaughey is often seen wandering the Texas Longhorns sidelines.  Will Ferrell has been known to help former USC head coach Pete Carroll pull pranks on his team.   

But none of these are athletes that participated in the actual sport for that particular school.  Also none of them are the greatest all time at their craft. Before anyone gets mad at that statement claiming Ferrell fits that category go rent anything post Talladega Nights. (Eastbound and Down in a small role is the lone exception.)

Johnson is a top five player of all time and the greatest point guard ever.  Many say he changed the point guard position. (However, I don’t see many 6’8” guys running the point save Lebron, kind of.)

The names on the jerseys have changed, the opponent is different and they will play the game in a dome on Saturday. A lot has changed, but some things have stayed the same.  Michigan State is in the Final Four against a team from Indiana and Magic will be in the building.


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Jason Black

Jason Black is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he recieved a B.A. in Journalism.  While at OU he served as Sports Director for the University television station.  He has recieved multiple awards for public speaking and comedy.

He appears weekly on 18 radio stations across the country and also writes for the magazine distinctly Oklahoma.

Growing and living in Oklahoma for almost his entire life, Jason has a passion for all sports mixed with a little pop culture.

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