Mass Mutual and NewsOne join together to present 28 dynamic people that make up the diverse tapestry of Black History. For the entire month of February, Black History Month, we will feature one Person of the Day and highlight their lives and achievements.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson (pictured) stands as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but beyond his NBA contributions are his achievements in the world of business. A point guard who could play a variety of positions, Johnson has applied that same versatility in creating opportunities for others.
Johnson was born in Lansing, Mich., on August 15, 1959. His father was an auto assembly worker and his mother worked as a custodian. Influenced by his parents, Johnson would work alongside his father on side jobs, such as collecting garbage.
Discovering basketball as a youth, Johnson grew to become a dominant player. Carrying that skill level on to high school and later starring at Michigan State University, Johnson’s talents on the court catapulted him in to the national conversation.
Battling future and fellow Hall Of Fame player Larry Bird in the NCAA 1978-79 basketball championship game, the contest was the most-watched college basketball game in history and sparked a long-running rivalry between the pair.
The Los Angeles Lakers chose Johnson first overall in 1979, and he spent his entire career with the squad. Johnson won five championships with the team, including three MVP honors before an abrupt retirement in 1991 brought on by his announcement of contracting the HIV virus. Johnson officially retired in 1996.
During his time off, Johnson began the first of what would become many business ventures primarily in African-American neighborhoods. His chain of movie theaters, the Magic Johnson Theaters, began to spring up. He also opened 135 Starbucks franchises nationwide, placing them largely in areas populated by Blacks; Johnson sold his interest in Starbucks back in 2010.
Currently, Magic Johnson Enterprises carries a net worth of $700 million, and Johnson has continued to diversify his business holdings with ventures such as the Aspire cable network and buying in to Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise.
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