In 1991 Earvin Magic Johnson announced to the world that he had contracted HIV and would be retiring from the NBA. He was 32 years old.
For most pro athletes, this would not only be the end of their careers, it would the downfall of their life. Not for Magic. He did play a bit more, most notably with the Dream Team winning the Olympic Gold Medal for the US. He also bought and sold a minority percentage of his team, The Lakers. He l owns a percentage of The LA Sparks, the LA Soccer Club and, through the Guggenheim Group, the LA Dodgers. That would be quite enough for most, but not for Magic.
Focusing on the under served urban areas, Johnson eventually bought movie theaters, Starbucks, insurance companies and other businesses. Today his net worth is $500 million, and MJE (Magic Johnson Enterprises) reportedly a cool $1 Billion. How did he create such wealth?
Magic Johnson began thinking about life after basketball while still playing with The Lakers. He was introduced to Michael Ovitz, a business powerhouse, and that relationship was pivotal in upgrading his business sense. Ovitz told him to start reading business magazines and the business section of the newspaper, and use every connection available to him immediately.
“A lot of athletes go out and want to start sports bars or restaurants, and they do it without vision of what they’re going to add to their customers,” Johnson says. “I can say that because I did it. But now I know what my vision is, and everything we consider has to fit that vision. Lots of opportunities come our way, and we ask ourselves as we look at every one whether it will bring something of value to the communities we serve.”
The question is what is next for you after retirement? Don’t wait, start working on it now.
Learn more about our athlete consulting programs here.