McKinley's magic moment


POSTED: Thursday, September 17, 2009

For two weeks, McKinley High School has been abuzz with speculation about who would be the special guest speaker at an assembly yesterday—everyone from Kobe Bryant to President Barack Obama.

All heads turned as one to the entrance of the gym as the magic moment came at 1:15 p.m. When a big man a foot taller than everyone around him neared the door, the screaming started and burst into a roar as Hall of Fame basketball legend Earvin “;Magic”; Johnson stepped inside.

No formal introduction was made for 10 minutes—there was no need—because the 1,800 kids recognized the smile that has always lit up a room and a basketball court, said emcee Stacie Tamaru, student body president. When Tamaru was told Johnson would appear minutes before the assembly, “;I started jumping up and down. I was amazed and shocked. Words cannot describe how it felt to give a lei and hug to Mr. Magic Johnson.”;

Johnson came to deliver an essential message:

“;You can do anything you want to be; but you have to take care of business in the classroom—that's the most important thing right now.

“;Also, what happened to me I don't want to happen to you; HIV is here to stay,”; said Johnson, who contracted the virus in 1991 and became an HIV/AIDS spokesman.

;[Preview]  “;Magic”; at McKinley High School

Legendary Basketball Star Earvin “;Magic”; Johnson stopped by at McKinley High School to deliver a speech of encouragment.

Watch ]


As owner of Magic Johnson Enterprises, Johnson is in Hawaii as a partner in SodexoMagic LLC, a food service company that has contracts with some Hawaii schools. Johnson, who often addresses students, made an offer through the Department of Education to speak at one local school, and McKinley was the first to respond, said Kerwin Higashi of Sodexo Education Services.

Johnson enjoyed hamming it up during a question-and-answer period, when one teen challenged: “;When am I ever going to have my game with you?”;

“;You sure you want that?”; Johnson asked, to hoots of laughter. “;Take a quick and good look at me. I can still do what I can do.”;

Senior Nicole Silva was one of several students to receive a National Basketball Association jersey with Johnson's number, 32, which he autographed as she wore it.

“;I got lucky today. Magic Johnson—he's the bomb,”; Silva said. “;I'm a big fan. I'm going to hang it up on my wall.”;