It’s official. Forbes reports that Earvin “Magic” Johnson is a billionaire, boasting a net worth $1.2 billion.
The former NBA baller joins the elite ranks of Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, and Tom Brady as the fifth prominent American pro athlete to achieve this financial status, notably decades after his playing days with the Lakers.
Magic Johnson’s investments in sports teams, movie theaters, Starbucks locations, and health insurance ventures have propelled him to this milestone.
Where the Wealth Is
During his prime as a Lakers star in the 1980s and ’90s, Magic Johnson earned about $40 million from his NBA contracts, which, when adjusted for inflation, would be roughly $110 million today. Magic Johnson received endorsement earnings ranging from $2 million to $4 million. Since entering the league in 2003, LeBron James has earned $479 million in NBA salary.
He made some early successful investments with Loews and Starbucks, where he was involved in their expansion into Black neighborhoods.
In 1990, Magic Johnson and investor Earl Graves Sr., the late founder of Black Enterprise, bought a PepsiCo bottling plant outside of Washington, D.C. Johnson acquired a minority stake in the plant for $60 million, as reported by The Washington Post.
However, his most valuable asset today is his 60 percent stake in EquiTrust Life Insurance. Since he became the majority owner in 2015, the company’s total assets have grown from $16 billion to $26 billion, and it now generates approximately $2.6 billion in annual revenue, according to Forbes.
In addition to being a beloved Lakers legend, he remains active in the sports industry as a minority owner in several teams, including the Dodgers, Sparks, LAFC, and most recently, the Washington Commanders.
“You know what I’m really happy about is that I’ve been able to put a lot of Black folks in positions of power and also help them become millionaires,” The 12-time NBA All-Star said, the Los Angeles Times reported. “I’m really happy about that.”
As a 64-year-old man, Magic Johnson credits the late Lakers owner Jerry Buss with playing a significant role in his early business ventures. In 1994, Buss sold Magic Johnson a minority stake in the team. The mentorship and fatherly guidance from Buss provided him with the necessary tools for success. Magic Johnson expressed his wish that both Jerry Buss and his own father, Earvin Johnson Sr., were still alive to witness his accomplishments, the Times reported.
Johnson would eventually sold his minority stake in the Lakers to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a billionaire physician and the current owner of The Los Angeles Times.