Magic Visits the Falcons

Standing with Magic Johnson (center) are (from left) assistant principals Dr. Adriana Guerrero-Pestonji, Miguel González, Principal Christine Benitez, Superintendent Dr. Darneika Watson and GUSD board President Jennifer Freemon.
Photo by Mary O’KEEFE

Basketball players and supporters get a surprise visit by basketball royalty.


Yes, those photos that many have been seeing on social media are real, not AI generated. Earvin “Magic” Johnson, thee Magic Johnson, was at Crescenta Valley High School (CVHS) on Tuesday at a girls and boys basketball game.

“We have a very giving community and someone reached out to give us this opportunity for our basketball players,” said Principal Christine Benitez.

Johnson was there to give the athletes words of inspiration.

“Thank you for allowing me to come,” Johnson said to the players and audience. “I want to say, first to all the seniors, good luck; make sure that you [take time] for yourself.”

He told seniors to enjoy this time and to look forward to graduation, then going on to college or a trade school.

“To both teams, I want to say good luck, always play the game the right way,” he added.

He told the athletes being there to support their teammates is the most important thing.

“These are precious days, precious games, because when you look back it’s gone [quickly],” he said.

He told the students to make sure to thank their parents for their support and to support their school.

“Participate, participate, participate,” he said. “Make sure you never take these days for granted.”

Johnson was there not to just support CVHS girls’ and boys’ teams and their opponents – Burbank’s John Burroughs High School – but also to reveal two new plaques in the gym that honored the 2022 CIF champion girls swim team and girls lacrosse team.

He climbed to the top of the bleachers and removed the covering that had been over the two plaques.

Benitez was told to keep the news of Johnson’s visit quiet in an attempt to control crowds. For the people who were at the school supporting the basketball games, it was a bit of controlled chaos.

“This was a special moment for our teams and for our school,” she added.

She added she was impressed with Johnson’s kindness, sincerity and generosity.

He took a lot of photos with many onlookers, shook hands and signed autographs – always with a smile on his face and a kind word to share.

Everyone who met him was excited, regardless of their age; however, his visit seemed to mean even more to the younger students.

“He touched the top of my head,” said a very happy young student.

Despite the added excitement in the gym, the basketball players kept their head in the game. Falcons’ girls and boys basketball teams won their games against Burroughs.