Magic Johnson made headlines dominating the court in the ’80s. However, in the early ’90s, the focus on the Lakers legend shifted. In November 1991, Johnson tested positive for HIV, considered a death sentence at the time. However, modern medicine prevailed. Johnson played a few more seasons in the NBA and won Olympic Gold with Team USA, too.
Johnson’s decision to keep playing did not come without controversy. He had to endure criticism both on and off the court. However, his hard work and determination prevailed, allowing him also to become an advocate for AIDS awareness. Today, Johnson is a successful businessman, giving back in a new way.
Magic Johnson goes from rags to riches
Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. was born on August 14, 1959, in Lansing, Michigan, to Earvin Sr. and Christine Johnson. He was the fourth of seven children. His father worked as a General Motors assembly worker, and his mother worked as a school janitor. For Magic, basketball was his ticket to the top.
Magic played two seasons at Michigan State University, winning the NCAA championship with the team in 1979. After winning the championship, Magic decided to leave Michigan State after his sophomore season for the NBA. It turned out to be a great decision as the Los Angeles Lakers selected him as the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft.
Johnson led the Lakers to five NBA Championships and was named the NBA Finals MVP three times. Along with success and fame, the NBA is where Magic began to build his fortune. In 1981, Magic signed a record-breaking NBA deal when he signed a 25-year, $25 million contract with the Lakers. However, this would be just the beginning of Magic’s fortune.
Magic’s second act
In 1995, Magic Johnson embraced becoming a businessman when he started Magic Johnson Enterprises. Today, the company reportedly holds a net worth of $1 billion. Johnson’s net worth alone is reported to be around $600 million.
Magic Johnson Enterprises holds various investments from health clubs, movie theaters, real estate, T.G.I. Fridays and Starbucks franchises, and a promotional marketing company. Johnson is also an investor and owner of a variety of sports clubs.
In 2012, Johnson was part of the ownership group that purchased a majority stake in the LA Dodgers. In 2014, he bought the LA Sparks of the WNBA outright. He also is part-owner of the LA Football Club, an expansion team in the MLS.
Overall, Magic’s second act as a businessman has greatly added to the fortune he began during his playing career. Johnson always stood out on the basketball court. However, what makes Johnson stand out now is his diligence in continually using his wealth to give back.
Magic’s partnership with MBE Capital Partners
In May 2020, reports CNBC, Magic Johnson Enterprises partnered up with MBE Capital Partners to offer $100 million in loans to minority and women-owned companies. The funds for this initiative will be distributed through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
Johnson knows these small owned businesses are the most vulnerable. Many minority-owned businesses missed out on COVID-19 relief funds due to a lack of relationships with bigger banks. Johnson hopes this aid will help more minority-owned companies keep their doors open during these trying times.
During this crisis and the stay-at-home orders, Johnson also made it clear that he thinks that pro sports leagues should return without fan attendance. Johnson stated, “We need it. We thrive on our sports. That’s how we escape our everyday life — is to indulge ourselves in sports.
So, we need sports to come back, especially if we’re going to continue to stay home.” Johnson might just have some sway in these upcoming empty stadium decisions with his involvement in so many leagues.