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Autograph Adventures – Magic Johnson

April 24, 2010
Boston, Massachusetts

The corner of St. James and Dartmouth offers a perfect vantage point of both entrances to the Fairmont Copley Hotel. I’m joined on the sidewalk by several other anxious collectors awaiting the arrival of basketball legend Magic Johnson, the keynote speaker at an awards gala sponsored by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (an organization whose abbreviation needs an abbreviation).

Magic Johnson autographed basketball

Magic Johnson autograph basketball

A few minutes earlier I had done a walkthrough of the venue to locate the ballroom where the event would be held and to identify any additional security (there was none). I watched a middle-aged woman collate a guest list on a registration table a few steps from the side entrance—Magic’s likely point on ingress.

It wasn’t long before a black stretch limo pulled up to the curb on Dartmouth Street, proving my prediction accurate. We waited for its passenger to unfold his 6-foot, 9-inch frame before descending on the vehicle. It was showtime.

Magic stepped onto the sidewalk then reached back inside the car and pulled out his jacket before noticing us. “Where did you all come from?!”

Myriad basketballs, photos and magazines were thrust in his direction but he didn’t react with the same ferocity. In a relaxed, controlled tone he instructed us to form a single-file line. And we did.

“After I sign, walk that way,” he said, pointing behind him. “I’ll get everybody but I’ll stop if I see anyone getting back in line.”

When it was my turn I handed a full-size basketball and silver DecoColor to Magic. Knowing the volatility of paint pens I was anxious about the results, but he signed it perfectly. After thanking him I obeyed his command, walking several steps past him before crossing the street and watching him sign for a half-dozen more collectors and take photos with a few passerby.

In subsequent trips to Boston—particularly during the 2010 Finals—Magic was much less accommodating to autograph seekers, routinely refusing to sign anything. The ball I had signed remains at the top of my in-person successes.

About the author: is the founder of Autograph University. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two sons. Connect with him on Twitter at @mattraymond.

1 comment… add one

  • Ron January 9, 2012, 2:51 pm

    That is 1 graph I would like to get

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