Our History Makers: Magic Johnson

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written by @itsthecaptain

Magic Johnson is in many ways the starting point guard for Black America. To really register this, you have to look outside of Los Angeles Lakers history and really go into his own personal story of life and experiences. This 6’9″ kid out of Lansing Michigan has dropped some serious dimes on and off the court, and we have indeed benefited.

1. Surviving With HIV – In 1991 HIV/AIDS was the ultimate death certificate. No one had no idea when Magic would go but the world and even he himself thought it would be soon. Magic was forced to retire from the game he loved after severe scare from some NBA players due to lack of knowledge. He would indeed flip this negative to a positive using his status to make people aware of HIV when he shot the video “Time Out” with popular night host and actor Arsenio Hall.

His contributions and information has helped thousands and possibly millions protect themselves from HIV or has helped people learn how to live with it. It has been officially 20 years since that 1991 press conference yet Magic is still pushing awareness and protection and wants people to know ”He’s Lucky and just because he has lived this long it doesn’t mean anyone else will”

2. Magic Johnson Theaters – In the year 1994 Magic took a shot at the movie industry. Although at the time his vision of putting plush and high quality multiplexes in urban communities seemed crazy and a sure-fire fail, Magic showed that when he is involved in “Showtime” it’s a huge success! His theaters opened on Crenshaw in Los Angeles California and in Harlem New York. It 10-15 screen theaters with SDDS Stereo and Stadium seating not only became a great entertainment place but it also created more jobs and created economic growth in the cities they were placed in. Some theaters still remain. A merger with Loews Cineplex and now a full ownership by AMC has freed Magic’s hands to work on other projects.

3. Starbucks – Although not founded by him or even created by him…Magic Johnson is a major piece in the success of Starbucks! How? Well he built 114 of them across the US! This then lead to the National exposure through word of mouth, commercial advertising and consistent growth of the business. He went in 50/50 with Howard Schultz and is solely responsible for Starbucks being in minority communities

4. Avant – A common unknown fact is Magic Johnson Music. Magic was on a roll through the 90’s despite his HIV announcement. With all of his business success rolling he took a shot at being CEO of his own record label! Who was his first artist to release and have success??? Ohio native Avant! Check out his cameo in Avant’s first video!

Avant would later release “My Thoughts” which would have hit single “Separated” on the album and further make him a mainstay in the R&B world an being compared vocally to R. Kelly.

5. Minority Owner - Before Bob Johnson, Nelly, Usher and Jay-Z it was Magic Johnson who first put in his Minority ownership bid to be apart of the team that he helped take to NBA Titles! The year was 1994 and the estimated percent was 10 which is a MAJOR DEAL for not only African Americans in the NBA but Also Athletes. There had been black Player Coaches [Bill Russell] and GM [Elgin Baylor] but no minority ownership at that time. Magic found yet another way to show there is plenty of life after basketball. Magic has now sold his share of The Lakers and is looking into buying both The LA Dodgers and His hometown team, The Detroit Pistons!

The underlying blessing that Magic Johnson has been to Black America is truly immeasurable. From poor Midwest kid, to HIV stricken pro athlete to Multimillionaire and businessman with family Magic proves that no obstacle is too big if you truly want to be as great as your dreams!

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