Johnson would often help his father on the garbage route, and he was teased by neighborhood children who called him "Garbage Man". His favorite basketball player was Bill Russellwhom he admired more for his many championships than his athletic ability. His father played high school basketball in his home state of Mississippi,  and Johnson learned the finer points about the game from him. He had become a dominant junior high player, once scoring 48 points in a game.
His mother spent many hours after work each night cleaning their home and preparing the next day's meals, while his father did janitorial work at a used car lot and collected garbage, all while never missing a day at General Motors.
Johnson would often help his father on the garbage route, and he was teased by neighborhood children who called him "Garbage Man". His favorite basketball player was Bill Russellwhom he admired more for his many championships than his athletic ability. His father played high school basketball in his home state of Mississippi,  and Johnson learned the finer points about the game from him.
Johnson's mother, originally from North Carolina had also played basketball as a child, and she grew up watching her brothers play the game. He had become a dominant junior high player, once scoring 48 points in a game. His plans underwent a dramatic change when he learned that he would be bused to the predominately white Everett High School instead of going to Sexton,   which was predominately black.
There were incidents of racism, with rocks Black magic thrown at buses carrying black students and white parents refusing to send their children to school. Larry was kicked off the basketball team after a confrontation during practice, prompting him to beg his brother not to play.
Johnson did join the basketball team but became angry after several days when his new teammates ignored him during practice, not even passing the ball to him.
He nearly got into a fight with another player before head coach George Fox intervened. Eventually, Johnson accepted his situation and the small group of black students looked to him as their leader. It's true that I hated missing out on Sexton. And the first few months, I was miserable at Everett.
But being bused to Everett turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. It got me out of my own little world and taught me how to understand white people, how to communicate and deal with them. He ultimately decided to attend Michigan State when coach Jud Heathcote told him he could play the point guard position.
The talent already on Michigan State's roster also drew him to the program. He led all scorers with 39 points. Although Johnson denied responsibility for Westhead's firing,  he was booed across the league, even by Laker fans.
In the final minute of the game, Johnson had the ball stolen by Celtics center Robert Parishand then missed two free throws that could have won the game. The Celtics won Game 4 in overtime, and the teams split the next two games. In the decisive Game 7 in Boston, as the Lakers trailed by three points in the final minute, opposing point guard Dennis Johnson stole the ball from Johnson, a play that effectively ended the series.
Johnson was awarded his third Finals MVP title after averaging However, after Johnson went down with a hamstring injury in Game 2, the Lakers were no match for the Pistons, who swept them 4—0.
He had become more powerful and stronger than in his earlier years, but was also slower and less nimble. There they faced the Chicago Bullsled by shooting guard Michael Jordana five-time scoring champion regarded as the finest player of his era.
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