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Magic Johnson Reveals What He Believes Positioned Him For Success As A Black Billionaire

Magic Johnson Reveals What He Believes Positioned Him For Success As A Black Billionaire

Former NBA great Magic Johnson credits his billionaire status to the company he kept throughout his career.

Johnson was raised alongside nine siblings in Lansing, MI. To support the family, his father worked at a General Motors plant, and his mother was a school custodian, the NBA reports.

Johnson found his purpose in basketball.

“I practiced all day,” Johnson told USA Weekend, per The Atlantic. “I dribbled to the store with my right hand and back with my left. Then I slept with my basketball.”

Johnson played at Everett High School, where he was nicknamed “Magic” by a sports writer after scoring 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 16 assists at 15 years old, the NBA notes. Johnson helped the team win a state title and continued to impress in college, leading the Spartans’ Michigan State University in East Lansing to a 25-5 record and a Big Ten Conference title. In 1979, he led his team to a national title, outperforming Larry Bird’s Indiana State University squad.

To no surprise, Johnson was drafted to the league in 1979 as the first overall draft pick by the Los Angeles Lakers, per ESPN. He spent 13 seasons in the NBA playing for the Lakers and had an overarching goal to be a businessman in retirement.

“From a poor kid growing up to even think about that is a blessing,” he told BBC News. “You know, I’ve always wanted to become a businessman after I was done.”

Today, Johnson has accomplished his aspirations thanks to the seeds he planted early in his basketball career by hiring a “true business manager.”

“I didn’t know money when I grew up. My parents didn’t know money,” Johnson said, according to BBC News. “So, when I got to the NBA, I had to find people who knew money, that’s why I’m sitting here right. I did something different from most athletes. I got me a true business manager to teach me.”

Johnson earned $40 million throughout his NBA career, Forbes reports. In retirement, he created Magic Johnson Enterprises, which invests in Black-owned businesses. Johnson then went on to build ownership across professional sports leagues, including MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, MLS’s Los Angeles Football Club, and WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, per Forbes. He also pursued NFL team ownership, with stakes in the Washington Commanders, as AFROTECH™ previously reported.

He said his key to success is surrounding himself with individuals who are driven to win.

“I gravitate toward knowledge,” Johnson explained, according to BBC. “I want to be smarter every single day… I like to be around smart people and accomplished people’s greatness. I love rubbing elbows with that.”



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