MUNDY TOWNSHIP, MI – As a slinky teenager at Lansing Everett High School, Earvin “Magic” Johnson was regarded as one of the nation’s top recruits long before his legendary pro and college career took off.
He led Everett to a Class A state title in 1977 but was definitely keeping his eye on teams from the Vehicle City en route to the championship.
“It’s funny when I grew up, the scare was Flint because we knew how many great basketball players were coming out of Flint, Benton Harbor and then Detroit,” Johnson said. “You think about where all the players were coming from at that time and Flint was definitely there.
“I remember Rick Leach was All-State in everything and so my time coming up Flint was a power in just about every sport so it’s fun being back.”
The NBA Hall of Famer returned to the Flint-area on Friday night for a fundraising event titled “An Evening with Magic Johnson” at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre.
The Flint Community Schools and Johnson’s SodexoMAGIC food company hosted the event.
During the ceremony, Johnson pledged $250,000 to the Flint Community Schools to match the fundraising committee’s original goal of $250,000. The proceeds will be used to renovate the athletic departments while establishing three walk-in clinics to be created within the district.
His SodexoMagic food company already supplies food services to the local institutions and he’s planning a Turkey Drive to give back to Flint residents around Thanksgiving.
In February, Johnson announced his partnership with Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores’ FlintNow initiative to assist with water relief efforts as the crisis continues.
“I’m happy to be here and happy about tonight for what hopefully will be the start of many outstanding fundraisers that we can raise money for the school system,” Johnson said. “The young people here in Flint deserve that and we’ve been successful in Saginaw and Lansing so we’re excited to be here as well especially when you think about all that has happened here so I think it puts a little extra on it.”