Magic Critical Context - Essay

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Because Johnson has long demonstrated keen interests in pleasing fans, positively influencing young people, and competing with peers, Magic may have been written for any or all of these reasons. It may also have been written to explain his perspective on several controversies that troubled his early professional career, such as his second-year contract or the firing of Coach Paul Westhead.

Magic is a refreshingly honest autobiography from a famous sports figure. Talent and successes are presented, but they are not the essence of this work. What shines through Magic is the importance of basic values in achieving success. This book succeeds because it reveals the superstar and the human being, with due credit lovingly given to those most significant in Johnson’s development.

If Magic was not a classic biography for young people before November, 1991, then it surely became one afterward. Johnson’s fame is inescapable in the annals of sports history, and the tragedy of his acquisition of HIV put him further in the public eye. These factors combine to ensure a public interest in Johnson and in this book for years to come. Magic is the Earvin Johnson biography of choice because of its authorship and because his other autobiographical work, Magic’s Touch (1989, coauthored with Roy S. Johnson), focuses much more on the fundamentals of basketball and thus has a more limited audience.