Earvin “Magic” Johnson changed the game on and off the court. The legendary power forward understood brand, business, and hustle went hand-in-hand, and applied that strategy very early on in his basketball career.
As the first draft pick in the 1979 NBA draft, this 22-old player, upon joining the Los Angeles Lakers, immediately prioritized business. Within three years and during his rookie contract, he inked a 25-year contract with the team, the longest contract in the history of the NBA. This deal ensured his annual payments of $1 million from 1984 to 2009, Sporting News reports.
It was around this time, in 1981, he decided to invest in big business, making his stake in media. It would be the first thing he purchased after getting his first NBA contract a few years prior.
First Major Business Investment
“I’ve always hustled my whole life and I always knew what money was all about,” he shared in an interview with “The Breakfast Club.”
Explaining, “When I got finally my first NBA contract, the first thing I bought was a radio station. Back in the day, minorities could buy a radio station an AM station for less than Caucasians could with a certificate. So, I had bought a station in Denver, Colorado.”
While in college, when he wasn’t on the court, he was a DJ, and that piqued his interest in that industry.
“A brother from Rochester, NY, owned the R&B station there and he had turntables in his dorm room,” the NBA Hall of Famer shared. “He taught me how to DJ, man, and that was my hustle.”
According to Johnson, he asked some of his teammates to join as investors in the station, probing them to cough up a couple of $100,000 a piece to meet the $1.5 million sale price. But no one did. To his great fortune, he dropped the entire amount, switched it from AM to FM, acquired the 20 acres of land to go with the station, and flipped both after three years.
“I sold the 20 acres for $1.5 million, which was what I bought the station for. Then I sold the station for about $4 million,” he told the hosts.
Now he owns 25 radio stations that include hip-hop, R&B, and some Latin music and programming.
Making Magic As A Mogul
Currently, Johnson seems to have his hands in everything, boasting a whopping estimated net worth of $620 million.
In addition to the radio stations, he has delved into franchising and created an empire delivering entertainment, health, and food services.
In 1989, Johnson founded Magic Johnson Enterprises, an investment firm. This division of his company also possesses several franchises. Over the past three decades, he has invested in various outlets of Burger King, 24-Hour Fitness, Starbucks, and TGI Fridays, amassing approximately $1 billion in investments spanning multiple industries within his business realm.
Starbucks was one of his most outstanding investments, particularly because he encouraged the coffee titan to expand into Black communities. Johnson acquired 105 Starbucks stores, eventually selling them back to the company for $100 million in 2010, two decades after the initial acquisition.
According to Boardroom.tv, he also has stakes in four pro sports teams: Washington Commanders (NFL), Los Angeles FC (MLS), Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), and the Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA). He was a minority owner in the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) but sold his shares in 2010.
When he bought into the NFL team, he said, “This is truly the biggest achievement in my business career and a historic moment for the entire Black community.”
He has invested in eSports, co-owning Team Liquid, a Netherlands-based eSports franchise.
Lastly, he is heavily invested in real estate, restaurants, and multiple movie theaters throughout the county.