He’s the real Wizard Kelly!
Everybody is aware of the greatness that is Earvin “Magic” Johnson, but few know the details of his extensive work off the court. A pioneering force in basketball, Johnson found his passion for the game at an early age. The Lansing, Michigan native would practice his basketball skills all day, remembering the early days when he was on the court most mornings by 7:30am, NBA.com reports. He earned the name “Magic” while in high school, a standout star at Everett High, he led his team to a state title averaging 28.8 points and 16.8 rebounds. His immense talent carried over into his time at Michigan State where he went All-American and to the 1979 NBA Draft where he was the Los Angeles Lakers first overall pick.
At 6-foot-9, Johnson was the tallest point guard in NBA history, and after 13 seasons in the league, he proved that he was the most revolutionary as well. With 5 championships, 12 All-Star appearances, an Olympic gold medal, and 17,707 career points, his talent and skill was only eclipsed by his work off the court. Having accomplished everything he needed to in the league, Johnson set off on another course after his retirement at the close of the 1991-1992 season. Already a superstar, battling immense challenges in his personal life, he channeled his advocacy and community work into an enterprise, setting his sights on becoming a business mogul.
“It’s never been my dream to coach. I want to own, to be a businessman. You’ve got to chase your dreams,” Johnson told reporters at the time.
Just two years after he left the game, he showed back up in a major way, purchasing a share of his former team and becoming part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. He followed up in 1995 with another venture, a string of “Magic Johnson movie theaters" centrally located in underserved areas. While he had gotten his entrepreneurial legs, he still had some more game in him, returning to the Lakers for the 1995-1996 season. After being ousted from the playoffs, he retired again.
He eventually sold his share of the Lakers, but it didn’t stop his hustle. Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002, Johnson was really just getting started and no one could’ve imagined where he’d end up. Today, he is the proud owner of several sports teams, including the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks, the MLB’s L.A. Dodgers, and Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC. Along the way Johnson has also owned a litany of franchise restaurants, product investments, and Starbucks locations, Yahoo! Sports reports. Now the entrepreneur has unveiled his most recent venture, making history as the first Black owner of the Washington Commanders football team.
The moment was celebratory for Johnson, fans of the mogul and his ownership group, which include billionaire investor Josh Harris, showing up in droves for the festivities. Taking over for former owner Daniel Snyder, Johnson made it clear that there’s a new sheriff in town, committing to build a culture where employees feel safe and valued. When speaking with “Today” show reporters about his new endeavor and his legacy as an entrepreneur, Johnson got emotional, brought to tears by all that he’s been able to accomplish.
"This is a great opportunity and I don't know why God blessed me with these opportunities, but I want to excel, not only for myself, but my family, but for all African Americans, making sure we can see ourself in these seats…And I want people to know that we can do the job," Johnson explained.
The NFL’s Washington Commanders has been sold to a group led by billionaire Josh Harris and a group that includes NBA legend @MagicJohnson. @CraigMelvin sat down for an exclusive interview with Johnson to talk about ushering in a new era for the team. pic.twitter.com/Y3NvWjU9j9— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 21, 2023
As we celebrate Johnson’s latest acquisition, we are inspired by his commitment to leading by example after all these years. May his work be the spark that lights our own torches and may Magic Johnson Enterprises be a blueprint for generations of wealth in our community. Thank you so much Mr. Johnson for reminding us to tap into the true Magic that exists in us all. You are appreciated!
Cover photo: The true entrepreneurial magic of Earvin “Magic” Johnson/Photo Courtesy of Fair Use Images