Sunday, December 16, 2012

We all thought he was going to die because he announced that he had Aids. It is now over 20 years later and Magic Johnson is very much alive and thriving financially. This past summer he became a part owner in the Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Team. We all know he became famous because of his talent as a basketball player. He rescued the team after a big divorce settlement from the previous owners Frank and Jamie McCourt almost had them with no owner. Yes, the magic of divorce.
He is part of 5 billionaires who made a pitch for the team before the McCourt’s declared bankruptcy and managed to acquire the team. Together they paid $2.15 Billion dollars for the team which represents more than anyone has ever paid for an American sports franchise. Magic Johnson personally wrote a check out for a $50 Million dollar investment in the team. Where did he get all that money from? His share only represents 2.5% percent in the team.
Magic came from a middle class family in Michigan where he saw his father go to work every day as a trash hauler and yet he managed to become one of the most famous and greatest basketball players in history. He learned from his father the value of every dollar. Now he is so proud to have elevated himself yet again from being a basketball legend to being a business giant.
Once Magic had his scare with Aids he knew he had to do something good with the few years he expected to live. At that time in his life he became known as the player who was too much a player with the women and got the sexually transmitted disease. Not a very good role model for kids especially since they didn’t even want him playing with anyone on the court anymore.
He felt he had to give back to his community. He got in touch with a big fan who also happened to be one of the most powerful men in the movies, Peter Guber who was then in charge of Sony Pictures. Magic convinced him to build Movie Theaters in black neighborhoods where most businesses would leave due to crime and vandalism that was rapid in those days in urban areas.
They built Magic theaters all over the country and it became a big success. He made lots of money. Money he now had to invest in other projects and his health was good. Magic still wanted to be rich and to do good so he went after Starbucks that also did not appear in any urban neighborhoods. The owner of Starbucks, Harold Schultz did not at first want to put high end coffee shops in low income neighborhoods especially this was a time right after the Los Angeles riots.
Magic convinced him to do it and they are thriving as well. He promised that he would be hands on with these businesses and that the big investors would not see their businesses be destroyed. Magic has become a good role model to the black communities and a trusted friend to powerful investors. He did it by making sure the theaters were kept clean and repair free. He thought of the community needs and wants as well.
He opened the first Starbucks in 1998 and had it be the success that would bring in other chains to open near the stores. He is proud to say they are not any regular Starbucks. He has Domino games and Chess games going on at tables for the men to hang out and play there. They don’t serve Scones either like white people like . He now has Magic Friday’s restaurants too sometimes right next to his Starbucks.
He opened 100 more Starbucks all over America in urban areas generating more money for Starbucks and $75 Million dollars for himself. All this new money from stores put Magic on a whole higher level in the money world. Some estimates put Magic Johnson’s current net worth at $ 750 Million dollars. Wasn’t this guy supposed to be dead by now?
He is now one of the most successful black businesspeople in all United States History. Oprah is number one and he ranks at number four. Magic Johnson also just launched a new cable TV network called Aspire which he hopes will offer positive programming for the black community. He is proud to say that he is not a silent partner in anything he touches and that his involvement and say so is the key to his successes.

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