They Call Me Magic Trailer: A Four-Part Documentary Series Looking Into The Real Earvin Johnson

If you were alive in the late 1980s or 1990s, it was almost impossible to not have heard of Earvin "Magic" Johnson, the insanely talented basketball star who had his career cut short when he was diagnosed with HIV and forced to retire from the NBA in 1991. 

A semi-fictionalized version of his rise to stardom with the LA Lakers, "Winning Time," is currently airing on HBO Max, starring newcomer Quincy Isaiah as Johnson. Eager to tell his own side of the story, Johnson allowed unprecedented access to documentary crews for a four-part documentary series on Apple TV+, "They Call Me Magic." The series will take a look at the life and career of the basketball and philanthropic legend, and Apple has dropped a trailer in honor of its premiere at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.

'He showed people how to live a different way'

The documentary series will feature new interviews with Magic Johnson, wife Cookie Johnson, son EJ Johnson, Larry Bird, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neil, President Barack Obama, Fred Stabley Jr., Dwayne Wade, Jerry West, Michael Wilbon and more. The series will begin with his childhood in Lansing, Michigan, and continue through his current works. The series was directed by "Dope" helmer Rick Famuyiwa, with editor Dirk Westervelt ("Ford v Ferrari") and cinematographer Rachel Morrison ("Black Panther"). 

It's difficult to state the full impact that Johnson had on pop culture, but the above trailer does a pretty decent job. In addition to lots of great vintage footage of Johnson in his prime, it shows several short clips from the interviews, including a moment where Snoop Dogg explains that Johnson "showed people how to live a different way." After his diagnosis, Johnson refused to retire from the spotlight, using his fame to champion several causes close to his heart. The former basketball star used his business savvy and name to make himself incredibly wealthy while also being a force for good in the world. Johnson himself says it best, explaining his ethos: 

"If you don't make a difference in the Black community, then it don't matter that you win championships."

The series is one of many documentaries on Apple TV+, joining titles like "Boys State," "The Velvet Underground," "Beastie Boys Story," "Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry," and "Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds." 

"They Call Me Magic" is set to premiere Friday, April 22, 2022, exclusively on Apple TV+.