More Hoop Dreams: Earvin Magic Johnson Talks Business
By Monique McKenzie
Photography by SMALLZ + RASKIND
It’s 4:30am. Although most of us are snug in our beds, Earvin “Magic” Johnson is ready to put his skills into play. First, he stretches, and then he works out. Next, it’s off to the office: sometimes he jogs to work. When he arrives, he starts with pressing
phone calls while he familiarizes himself with the day’s agenda. Seems like a bit much to accomplish by sunrise?
Not so for the celebrity basketball player turned businessman. The 52-year-old, two-time Hall of Famer and NBA legend is the chairman and chief executive officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), which has its headquarters in Los Angeles. The organization, which boasts numerous partnerships with various companies, including ESPN, Guggenheim Partners, Simply Healthcare Plans, Edison, Hudson and, recently, VIBE Holdings LLC — the company that owns UPTOWN, UPTOWN Professional, and Soul Train — is everything entertainment for the urban community.
And Magic Johnson is the head honcho. “I’m a leader, so I lead,” he says. “That’s the only thing I know how to do.”
Leading by Example
Whether you corner Magic in an elevator or pitch him a question during a panel discussion, you’ll find that this urban dynamo is extremely knowledgeable about his various lines of business. The executive is fully engaged in his enterprises and comes to the office every day to stay connected.
“If you’re not involved, anything can happen to your company, and (someone else) can make all the final calls,” he says.
As a result, the magic man facilitates all of his own meetings, strategizes his companies’ next move moves wiht the aid of his very esteemed staff, and makes plans for the future.
“It’s my job to help everybody know where we’re going in the next three to five years, how we’re going to grow and what role they’re going to play in that growth,” he says.
To stay on top of his game, Magic gets regular reports on every area of his businesses from his top executives and other employees. This past January, Magic hosted a company-wide annual retreat at the St. Regis resort in Laguna Beach, Calif., to discuss the organization’s strategies for 2012 and beyond.
Magic’s commitment is no surprise to those who know him best.
“I’ve been working with him for quite some time, and he never ceases to amaze me with his knowledge, drive and dedication,” observes Eric Holoman, MJE’s president. “He is hands-on in every part of the process and takes the time to really educate himself about every aspect of every business he is involved in.”