Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Magic, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Richard Levin have interwoven two stories: that of approximately fifteen years of Johnson’s life, from third grade to the completion of his third year of professional basketball, and that of the 19811982 championship season of the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson’s team. Throughout the book, the major focus is on Magic’s development and accomplishments in basketball, as an individual and as a team player. Yet a more complete revelation of the whole person, Earvin Johnson, Jr., emerges—although in rather broadly painted strokes.

The book, with only eight pages of photographs, is a narrative account cleverly arranged into thirteen chapters to hold the attention of readers with greater or lesser interests in Johnson, the Lakers, basketball, and biography. Chapters 1, 4, 7, 10, and 13 are devoted to the Lakers’ 19811982 season. Beginning with training camp at Palm Springs and Palm Desert, California, these chapters chronicle the ups and downs of Johnson, his teammates and coaches, and their fans as the Lakers play out the season, engage in playoff games, and finally win the championship series. A bit of the glamor of professional basketball is revealed along the way, but much clearer are the tensions, pressures, pains, and injuries of individual players, coaches, owners, and teams. Interspersed with the Lakers’ season, in units of two, the remaining eight chapters reveal the chronological making of...

(The entire section is 421 words.)