Skip to main content

Earvin “Magic” Johnson was an all-time great point guard who played for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s and 90s. His time with LA stretched even beyond his playing days, though. Johnson actually served as the head coach of the Lakers for a brief period of time. He also returned years later to assume the role of president of basketball operations.

Magic’s lasting legacy with the Lakers is among the greatest of any player to ever wear the iconic purple and gold. He’s widely regarded as one of the best NBA players of all time, not just in the Lakers organization, but in the league as a whole. Johnson’s entire Lakers career on and off the court, however, is longer than some might think.

Magic Johnson’s playing days with the LA Lakers

Magic Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA draft by the Lakers. He was the first underclassman to leave college and become the first overall pick the next year.

Johnson wasted no time making his mark on the franchise in year one. He averaged 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game during his rookie season. Magic, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, led the Lakers to an NBA title in the same season.

Magic went on to play 12 seasons with the Lakers before he was unexpectedly forced to retire in 1991 due to his HIV diagnosis. He sat out for four years but returned in 1995 to play one last season in LA. Johnson played in 32 games in 1995-96 and was still an effective player at age 36.

Johnson finished his NBA career as a 12-time All-Star, five-time NBA champion, and three-time MVP winner. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2002.

Magic Johnson’s Lakers career wasn’t over after he stopped playing

Magic Johnson will forever be remembered for what he did on the court with the Lakers. He was one of the most unique talents the NBA has ever seen, but his Lakers career continued even after his playing days ended.

Many basketball fans don’t even remember that Johnson coached the Lakers for a brief period in 1994. He even got ejected in one game. He coached the last 15 games of the season after the Lakers fired Randy Pfund, but there was nothing magical about his performance. The Lakers went 5-10 to finish the year and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1976.

Years later, Magic joined the Lakers’ front office as the president of basketball operations. Johnson took the job in February of 2017, but he only lasted two years in the position. He did manage to recruit LeBron James to LA, which was the biggest acquisition for the team in a long time.

Although he’s not with the organization today, Magic should be commended for his role in landing James and setting the team up to be a championship contender again. All told, he’s been an integral part of the organization for more than 20 years total.

What is Magic Johnson up to now?

Magic Johnson has used his recognizable brand to become a successful entrepreneur after calling it quits on his career in basketball. He started his own investment company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, in 1987.

Today he owns over 100 Starbucks shops, a high-end condo complex in Brooklyn, and is an investor in aXiomatic eSports, among numerous other companies.

Johnson has used his tremendous wealth to become a part-owner of the LA Sparks and the Dodgers as well. Although he isn’t personally involved in the Lakers organization, you can bet he’s rooting for the purple and gold on his couch every night. Magic will always be a part of the Lakers, just as the Lakers will always be a part of him.