Earvin Johnson Jr. was born in 1959 in Lansing, Mich., into a massive lower-middle class family of 10 children headed by Earvin Johnson Sr. (far left), a longtime General Motors assembly line worker and mother who was a school custodian.

When rolling out interviewed Magic at the GM assembly plant north of Detroit where his father worked, MJ credited the patriarch with instilling him the keys to his success: “It was the work ethic,” Johnson said simply. Johnson also said his father planted in his son the “assist” mentality early on, where he made the pass an integral part of the game — and would eventually change the game. And, if the teen Earvin did not heed to that mandate, Earvin Jr. said Earvin Sr. reinforced the concept with “the belt” as a reminder to share the rock.

The seeds of Johnson’s legend were planted with that invaluable fatherly advice.

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