Erving “Magic” Johnson might be the most remarkable athlete and entrepreneur ever. An extraordinary player; he ushered in the modern age of the NBA (National Basketball Association) with the Showtime Lakers. During his career, spanning 1979-1991, Johnson was a three time Most Valuable Player, won five NBA championships and was selected nine times as a “first team all NBA player”. His success off of the court is equally remarkable. He now runs Magic Johnson Enterprises; a corporation that invests in urban America. The corporation has over 500 million dollars under management.
Look for up and coming markets – such as many American inner cities
One reason Magic Johnson is a successful businessman is his ability to spot underserved markets. Magic lived in Los Angeles and could not make sense of one intriguing fact. He knew that African American were among the biggest movie viewers in the United States. Despite this fact there were very few locations within these communities to go to a movie. Magic raised money to building movie theaters in the African American community. His theaters started as a big success in Los Angeles and quickly spread to New York, Cleveland and Houston. Johnson eventually sold his stake in the movie theatre chain but continued to invest in urban America. Magic focused his attention on opening Starbucks. In 2010 Magic sold 105 Starbucks in a deal estimated to be worth more than $70 million. Magic continues to invest in urban America by building luxury condominiums in up and coming neighborhoods.
Read the business section of the newspaper everyday
Magic Johnson’s business career did not start as smoothly as his athletic career. From a young age Johnson knew he wanted to involved in the business. He pitched his ideas to many investors but nobody believed that his athletic prowess would guarantee his business success. After growing frustrated at his lack of success Magic asked the President of Creative Artists Agency (C.A.A.) what he could do to be a successful business man. Mike Ovitz suggested that Magic read the business section of the newspaper everyday. Magic started to read the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Bloomberg. His discipline in learning served as his de facto M.B.A.
Find a good mentor
This advice is easier said than done because for many people it can hard to find somebody to take a strong interest in you. People lucky enough to have a good mentor can learn a lot about a business they are interested in. Magic was fortunate to have Jerry Buss as somebody who could him the business ropes. Buss was a highly successful chemist and real estate investor. Buss helped Magic succeed by forcing him to think about hypothetical business situations while Magic was still a player.
Magic Johnson continued his stunning success off the basketball court by looking for underserved markets, educating himself in the world of business and by taking the guidance of a brilliant mentor. We cannot all be basketball superstars but anyone can emulate these steps to success.