Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is the newest billionaire on Forbes’ billionaire list. Per Forbes, he has an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion. The NBA Hall of Famer’s current status makes him the only fourth professional athlete to reach this feat.
His new economic status follows a lucrative post-basketball career as an investor in professional sports teams, movie theaters, Starbucks cafes, and a health insurance provider, according to Forbes.
In a previous post, Face2Face Africa examined the businesses owned by the NBA legend. In this article, the focus will be on the number of sports teams Johnson has stakes in. As per Forbes, Johnson has stakes in a trio of Los Angeles professional sports franchises, including the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, and the MLS’ LAFC. The platform also adds that his $1.2 billion net worth was the result of his stakes in those teams and other businesses.
Los Angeles Sparks
In 2014, an investment group led by Johnson bought the WNBA franchise Los Angeles Sparks. The deal was unanimously approved for sale by the WNBA and NBA Board of Governors.
“This is a great day for the city of Los Angeles and the Sparks,” Johnson said about the acquisition in 2014, according to USA Today. “The leaders of this great city came together quickly to keep this franchise right where it belongs—in the city of Angels. Thanks to my sister, Evelyn, playing college basketball, I have a great appreciation of the talented players that represent the WNBA. Our group will now work together to bring our loyal fans another WNBA championship. “
MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers
Johnson and his group emerged as the winning bidders for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. According to Bleacherreport, they made a bid of $2 billion, which is a record for a professional sports franchise of any kind.
The Los Angeles FC is the third sports team that has helped Johnson to become a billionaire. On its website, LAFC noted, “Earvin “Magic” Johnson is Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises and a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Sparks, and eSports franchise Team Liquid. Johnson has become one of the most powerful African-American businessmen in the world with a diverse portfolio including Equitrust and SodexoMAGIC. He is an NBA legend, a two-time Hall of Famer, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and a motivational speaker.”
Born Earvin Johnson Jr., Johnson is an NBA Hall of Famer who was first inducted in 2002 for his individual career, and again in 2010 as a member of the Dream Team. His illustrious career in the NBA spanned seventeen years, from 1979 to 1996.
First drafted in 1979, Johnson entered the league and played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons. His career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, 12 All-Star games, and 10 All-NBA First and Second Team nominations.
While enjoying his career as an NBA player, Johnson had an eye for business. His desire to become a businessman when his basketball career ended made him build a connection with legendary super-agent Michael Ovitz to teach him how to be a successful businessman.
Since retiring from the NBA, he has made one business move after the other. He has over 100 Starbucks stores in several cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Atlanta, San Diego, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. Additionally, he owned several Burger King restaurants in diverse locations. In 2004, he bought 30 Burger King restaurants in Atlanta, Birmingham, Dallas, and Miami, and later sold them for $15 million, The Sports Rush reported.
In 2015, Johnson made a big push into the financial services sector. He added a 60% acquisition of a Life Insurance Company to his business portfolio. At the time he made the acquisition, USA Today reported that EquiTrust Life Insurance Company managed $14.5 billion in annuities, life insurance, and other financial products.
A year after his venture into the financial services sector, he opened the first-ever 24-Hour Fitness Magic Johnson Sports club in Oakland. The Oakland club is “47,000 square feet in size and has an array of exercise equipment and programs, an indoor pool, spa, steam room, sauna, and a regulation NBA-sized basketball court,” according to the San Francisco Business Times. Johnson also came to have a stake in other businesses, including a New York-based magazine and television.
He is now only the fourth professional athlete to be identified as a billionaire by Forbes, following NBA legends Michael Jordan and LeBron James, as well as golfer Tiger Woods.