Magic Johnson’s life is now being turned into a four-part documentary series for Apple TV+.
The announcement was made Thursday, three days before the anniversary of a key day: On Nov. 7, 1991, Johnson (shown here) announced that he had tested positive for HIV.
That was at a time when AIDS was considered a death sentence. Johnson, now 62, threw himself into the newest medical protocols and has thrived for 30 years.
He’s gone on to be a major businessman. He created (and later sold) the Magic Johnson movie theater chain and a chain of 125 Starbucks coffee shops. He started the Aspire cable network, is one of the owners of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Sparks and has had an ownership role in everything from insurance and food to real estate and a Pepsi franchise.
His story has been told before, often focusing on the rivalry/friendship with Larry Bird. That was the subject of a book, an HBO documentary and even a Broadway play.
But the new film, Apple says, will cover the full range of his life, starting when he was Earvin Johnson in Lansing, Mich.
Johnson went on to two years at Michigan State University and a national championship – beating Bird’s Indiana State team, in what remains the most-watched basketball game in TV history.
He and Bird reached pro basketball at the same time – Bird with the Boston Celtics, Johnson winning five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Both brought a passing and teamwork approach to a league that had been shot-crazy. Johnson retired with the highest assists-per-game average (11.2) in NBA history.
The documentary will be filmed with movie-style quality, Apple said. That will include the cinematogapher of “Black Panther,” the editor of “Ford v. Ferrari” and the director of “Dope.”