Gadsden County, FL -
NBA Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson shared his inspirational story with local high schoolers today.
And the crowd goes wild!
Twenty-one years after retiring from the NBA, Magic Johnson still packs a gymnasium.
The Los Angeles Lakers legend visited East Gadsden High School Thursday.
Johnson says, "It feels great. Anytime you can come into a high school and really try to share your experience with young people and tell them how I got to this point in my life."
Johnson arrived at the school in style. He landed on the football field in a helicopter Thursday morning.
He inspired students with his rags to riches story. His main message: the importance of a good education.
"You grow up poor but you don't have to have poor dreams. Through education, you can achieve anything in life." Johnson says.
East Gadsden High Senior Jasmine Highman says, "Magic Johnson being here was a good impact on us as a whole and as Gadsden County as a community that we can come from the bottom and come up and be successful as we can, no matter the circumstance."
Tenth Grader Onyx Franklin says, "It feels like an honor because so many people downgrade East Gadsden. For such a professional and distinguished man to come here is overwhelming."
Magic Johnson was candid with students about his positive HIV status when a student asked if he was disappointed about retiring from the NBA. Johnson told students that he was not ready to retire because he was in the prime of his career.
He told students, "When you think about making those choices, those decisions, understand what the consequences can be. Make sure you know a lot about HIV/AIDS."
Johnson says he's healthy and happy; and just as he did, he wants students to shoot for their goals.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson was selected first overall by the L.A. Lakers in the 1979 NBA Draft. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season. He won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s.
Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV. He returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award.
Gadsden County, FL - Magic Johnson is visiting East Gadsden High School today to inspire students with his story about climbing to the top.
Johnson told students to get good grades and to 'keep your eye on the prize'.
Magic is encouraging the students to dream big. He tells them education is important. He is telling them his rags to riches story and that they, too, can achieve all of their dreams.
"Make sure you get the grades," said Johnson. "Clothes don't make you; you make the clothes."
Magic Johnson is visiting kids in Gadsden County, today!
WCTV was there to greet him, and will bring you more information soon.