Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Magic Johnson

"Earvin Magic" Johnson has always dreamed of becoming a successful businessman. So, whether he was on the basketball court at Michigan State, winning state championships or as the infamous 32 on the Los Angeles Lakers, winning with his no-look passes — Johnson's dream come true was not far behind.

Although, Johnson is known universally for his illustrious 13-year professional NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he has re-defined himself as a businessman. To date, Johnson has provided over 20,000 jobs to minorities through his many business ventures. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Development Corporation (JDC), he has provided a sense of hope for Urban America by revitalizing under-served communities — providing quality entertainment services, creating much-needed jobs and employing local minority contractors and service vendors. Since JDC's inception in 1993, they have established a 50/50 partnership with Howard Schultz (Chief Global Strategist of Starbucks) and Starbucks Coffee Company to form Urban Coffee Opportunities (UCO), making him Starbuck's only partner to date. Johnson currently has 92 Starbucks, with a commitment to open up a total of 125 stores by the end of 2006. 100% of the stores are located in ethnically diverse neighborhoods, while a large portion are located in under-served communities.

Through Mr. Johnson's leadership, he formed a partnership with Canyon Capital Realty Advisors LLC to create Canyon-Johnson Realty Advisors LLC, which manages the Canyon Johnson Urban Fund. Johnson serves as managing director, along with Bobby Turner. The fund focuses on urban emerging real estate markets and fostering economic opportunities for the underserved residents of urban neighborhoods in which it invests. In January 2005, the Fund closed on its second round which at $600 million is twice as much as was raised in the first, 2001 go-round. The fund has made or committed to 15 investments utilizing approximately $320 million of its committed capital, facilitating over $1.5 billion of urban revitalization. Projects to date, include Sunset & Vine in Hollywood, CA, Park Place Condominiums and One Hanson in Brooklyn, NY, State Place in Chicago, Midtown Center in Milwaukee, WI, Downtown Dadeland and Miami Free Trade Zone in Miami. He has crossed the barriers of being just an athlete and opened doors for himself and others.

He has also established Magic Johnson Theatres, with six locations opened nationwide (Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Cleveland, Harlem and Largo, Maryland in Prince George's County); Magic's T.G.I.F Fridays (in Los Angeles) and Washington Mutual Bank have opened 26 home loan centers dedicated to helping people build wealth, achieve their financial goals and realize the dream of home ownership in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco, CA, Oakland, CA and Houston, TX.

Johnson definitely believes in empowering urban America by developing in under-served communities and providing much-needed jobs to minorities. He recently partnered with the Burger King Corporation in a multi-year agreement as a franchisee of 30 restaurants in Atlanta (five), Birmingham (eight), Dallas (14) and Miami (three).

Mr. Johnson also heads Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), which is responsible for the direction and expansion of the Magic Johnson Brand. His business ventures through MJE include Lincoln Mercury, NASCAR (Johnson is co-chair of their Diversity Steering Committee), Burger King, ZMagic, Cadbury Schweppes and 24 Hour Fitness Centers. Johnson can also be seen during the NBA season on TNT as a commentator for the games, along with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.

As Chairman and Founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation (MJF), Johnson addresses the critical issues of health, educational and social needs of inner-city youth. The non-profit empowers minority communities through advancing and supporting worthy charitable organizations. Johnson provides the inspiration and momentum for the Magic Johnson Foundation Taylor Michaels Scholarship Program that provides college scholarships, mentoring and internships. He has sent over 225 students to colleges (130 are currently in the program) across the country, including top schools like Howard University, Berkeley College at Boston, Morehouse College and Stanford. Many of them have gone on to work for some of the companies that helped to sponsor their education like American Express, SBC, etc. Johnson currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Cancer Society Foundation.

To help bridge the digital divide in low-income communities, Johnson formed the Magic Johnson Empowerment Centers. He currently has 19 centers opened across the country, including sites in Lansing (Johnson's hometown), Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Seattle, Houston and DC, to provide urban communities with access to technology. The MJF also has four AID/HIV clinics located in Los Angeles, Jacksonville, FL, Oakland, CA and San Francisco.

Johnson was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan, where he led Everett High School to a state high school championship in 1977. He then won an NCAA title at Michigan State in 1979 where he was honored with a statue of his likeness unveiled on campus 2003. It was while playing at Everett High School that Johnson earned his now famous moniker, "Magic" from Michigan sportswriter Fred Stabley, Jr. Johnson has proven to the world and to himself that he has been successful in sports. He appeared on his first Sports Illustrated cover before he even entered the NBA draft (he's been on 22 covers to date). He's won five national championships with The Los Angeles Lakers (He is now Owner and Vice-President of the team), three MVP awards, a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, played in 12 NBA All-Star Games, and was recently honored by the STAPLE Center and the NBA with the unveiling of the Magic Johnson statue. Now, Johnson's continued success demonstrates that his magic is a positive force on and off the court.

Mr. Johnson currently resides in Beverly Hills, California, with his wife Cookie and their children, Earvin Johnson, III (EJ), Elisa and Andre.

** Information is correct and updated as of the print date, November 16, 2005. *


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