Everything You Need To Know About NBA Legend & Real Estate Mogul Magic Johnson
- Earvin "Magic" Johnson, 56, has an estimated net worth of $500M.
- The retired Los Angeles Laker founded Magic Johnson Enterprises in 1987. Today, his business is a billion-dollar conglomerate that owns a variety of retail establishments; has developed 31 urban projects across the nation; and, of course, invests in sports teams.
- During his 13-year NBA career, Magic netted five championships, was a 12-time All-Star and won a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
- Johnson earned the nickname "Magic" in high school, after a sportswriter witnessed him score 36 points, pull down 16 rebounds, and get 16 assists in a single game.
Since retiring from basketball in 1996, Magic has morphed into a business powerhouse with a passion for social change. His mission as a businessman is simple: fostering community and economic empowerment. In partnership with Canyon Capital, Magic has helped finance 31 real estate development projects in 13 states, as well as Washington, DC; in 2008, he raised over $1B to invest in urban neighborhoods. "I get asked if I’m trying to help minorities or make money," Magic told Sports Illustrated. "My answer is, I’m trying to do both."
From Starbucks To Burger King
In 1998, Magic went to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz with an ambitious project: building coffee shops in underserved neighborhoods. The idea was that the Starbucks store would not only create new jobs, but also encourage a stronger sense of community. The duo teamed up and opened a Starbucks store in Ladera Heights, CA; over the years, more than 100 Starbucks stores followed in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Seattle and other major cities. Johnson eventually sold his Starbucks shares in 2010. But in the meantime, he had built a huge real estate portfolio that includes 31 Burger Kings in the Southeast, 13 24-Hour Fitness chains, and even a number of movie theaters (now operated by AMC).
From The Hardwood To The Boardroom
Magic's business career started while still playing with the Lakers. Wondering why so many black athletes fell into bankruptcy, Johnson met with Michael Ovitz, CEO of Creative Artists Agency, who handed him a stack of business magazines. Ovitz told Johnson that he needed to get his "head out of the sports pages" and start building business connections. Roughly two decades later, Magic has proved he's just as good in business meetings as on the hardwood. "You can go be an athlete, be a winner on the court and go to the boardroom and be a winner there, too," Magic told Fortune.