July 2013

When Magic Johnson was a Seventh-day Adventist

-From My Life, by Earvin Magic Johnson with William Novak (1993), 8-9.

"Mom is very religious, and when I was young we all went to the Union Missionary Baptist Church. But when I was about ten, a woman started going from house to house, with religious books and Bibles. She was a Seventh-Day (sic) Advent-ist (sic), and when Mom was receptive, she came back again and again. The Adventists are Christians who observe the Old Testament Sabbath and the same biblical dietary laws as Orthodox Jews.

"When Mom became an Adventist, things got pretty tense for a while. Dad was deep in the Baptist church, active on all the committees. He and I both sang in the choir. Mom wanted the whole family to become Seventh-Day (sic) Adventists, and for a few weeks we all did—except Dad.

"I hated it. My peewee-league basketball games were on Saturday, and suddenly I couldn't play anymore. There was no TV from sundown Friday until Saturday night, you couldn't go anywhere in a car on Saturday, except to church, and the only music we could listen to was Christian music.

"I was mad that I had to make all these changes. I went to Dad about it, and he was upset, too. Mom had stopped cooking on Saturdays, and she also stopped serving ham, pork, and bacon. That was hard, because Dad was a big ham-and-sausage guy.

"For a few weeks, there was war. But my parents loved each other, and they fixed things up. Dad saw that Mom was serious about her new church, and Mom understood that Dad wasn't going to join her. My sisters became Adventists, while Dad and I and my brothers remained Baptists. Mom and Dad still live that way, and they go to church together on Saturday and Sunday."


-From My Life, by Earvin Magic Johnson with William Novak (1993), 127-128.

"He [Kareem] was a great fan of her [my mother's] cooking, especially her sweet-potato pies. Because Mom was a Seventh-Day (sic) Adventist, Kareem could be confident that nothing she cooked or baked contained pork. That meant a lot to him, and at one point, when he needed to hire a cook, he called Mom for advice. It wasn't long before Kareem, too, began looking forward to our annual trip to Michigan."