A 'magical' superstar visits McKinley High School - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

A 'magical' superstar visits McKinley High School

Magic Johnson Magic Johnson
Leo Maiava Leo Maiava

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - NBA superstar Earvin "Magic" Johnson paid a surprise visit to McKinley High School Wednesday. He's teaching students how to score on the basketball court and in life.

It was an inspirational moment for the students. Johnson grew up in a big family, with nine siblings.

They didn't have much money growing up, and today, he spoke to an audience who could relate to his childhood.

Students at McKinley High School gave Magic Johnson a championship size welcome. The NBA legend was a surprise guest at the afternoon assembly.

"When I saw him, I was really shocked because I wasn't expecting he was coming," said Francesca Rigor, a sophomore at McKinley.

He talked about the importance of staying in school. Magic was the first in his family to go to college.

"I used my education to get where I am today and that's what I was trying to stress to them," said Johnson. "Just because you grew up poor doesn't mean you have to think you can't be successful."

He grew up not much differently from students at McKinley. That's why he wanted to reach out to them.

"It's a blessing to be able to give back to these young people and try to inspire them to go after their goals and dreams because they need to know someone like them has made it," said Johnson.

He also pitched trivia questions to the audience and the ones who got them right, were invited to be on stage.

"It was great," said Mele Kuma, a McKinley high school junior. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh!' It was so surprising."

"Unbelievable," said Leo Maiava, also a McKinley junior. "I never thought I would see him in real life."

He gave them a souvenir of a lifetime, and even signed it.

"I was going to cry," said Kuma. "(I'm his) big fan, that's why. I play basketball."

Johnson says going after something you want takes dedication and perseverance.

"It's never going to come easy or when you want it to," he said. "But if you keep after it, eventually it's going to come your way. I'm living proof of that."

A living proof who inspires future superstars at McKinley.

"It just makes me realize it's never too late to reach your dreams, giving up just brings you to nowhere and he helped a lot of people by doing that," said Rigor.

"I should do the same thing because I come from the same place," said Maiava. "So pretty much try to do my best in school so I can have a better life for the future."

"I'm going to listen to him and try my hardest to achieve my goals," said Kuma.

Johnson also talked about the importance of giving back. He started the Magic Johnson Foundation back in 1991. It's a non-profit charity that helps diverse, urban communities.

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