Magic Critical Essays


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Sports have long been lauded in the United States, and prominent sports figures frequently enjoy wide acclaim. Thus, Magic has had a wide reading audience, particularly among young people. Because Johnson was still in his early twenties when Magic was published, his discussion of his life up to that point is especially compelling for young readers. Adding to Johnson’s credibility is the indication, in the author’s note preceding the text, that the writing was from memory and that, while some statements appearing as quotes are actually paraphrased, their substance is accurately reflected.

Johnson was frequently described as the ultimate team player, and he portrays his own life in much that manner and spirit in Magic. In those chapters that are focused on Johnson’s professional career, there is a good balance between the revelation of his thoughts and actions and the expressed thoughts and actions of his teammates, coaches, and other team personnel. It is also clear, implicitly and explicitly, that Johnson sought to make all of these relationships positive ones, enabling them to accomplish team goals. A bit uneasy early in his rookie year, Johnson was told that his enthusiastic style would not work in the National Basketball Association (NBA); he said nothing, but within weeks of the season’s opening, he was on the way to quietly proving that it would. Johnson claims that, when individuals begin to find success in team play, the team becomes more successful and happier. He also shows how outsiders, particularly in the media, can unwittingly create or contribute to difficulties for...

(The entire section is 665 words.)