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A history of Magic Johnson’s absurd summer yacht vacations

Magic Johnson is back on a super-yacht in Greece. Summer has officially started.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Lakers legend posted a characteristically goofy yet luxurious video showing the 61-year old lifting weights while on a nifty-looking boat in the Greek Islands:

Johnson, as per annual tradition, has kept his followers extremely up to speed with his travels through the Ionian Sea since arriving, including a swing by the Old Fortress of Corfu (a solid fortress).

In honor of Magic’s glorious return to his favorite habitat ā€” the High Seas of Europe ā€” let’s look back on his hallowed tradition.


The five-time NBA champion and hyper-successful business mogul has dropped serious dimes on his summer excursions, dating back to 2008, at least. A few notable tidbits:

In 2011, Johnson and his best buddy and frequent travel partner, Samuel L. Jackson ā€” along with their wives, Cookie and LaTanya Richardson Jackson ā€” stopped by Portofino, where Johnson discovered that Italians like basketball, too.

‘I didn’t realize Italians love basketball just as much as we do in the US,” he wrote on Facebook. “Almost everyone in Capri lined up to take a picture with me!’

In 2015, Johnson dropped a mere $500,000 per week to sail around the Mediterranean with his son E.J., and Jackson. According to Boat International, Johnson rented the 230-foot motor yacht, Amadeus, owned by French billionaire Bernard Arnault. Amadeus includes a movie theater and driving range and had been previously used by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Bono. It was on this trip that Magic began posting above-deck workout videos.

According to TMZ, Johnson rented the yacht for six weeks, totaling $3 million. Must be nice!

The next summer, Magic bought Cookie a 25-carat diamond ring for their 25th anniversary, which they celebrated in style in Monaco after beginning their summertime journey in Venice.

In 2017, Magic elevated his game, chartering 241-foot SIREN at $700,000 per week for a trip through the Mediterranean. (SIREN hilariously lists “download and print daily newspapers” as one of its special features, alongside two movie theaters and a beach club.)

Even more comically, Magic said he pushed back the ’17 trip until August in order to go to Lakers Summer League (and not because his birthday and wedding anniversary are in August).

That August, the Johnsons and Jacksons cruised by Sorrento, Italy, and the Isle of Capri ā€” a popular dock for summer super-yachters. While there, the Johnsons dined with Miami Heat owner (and Carnival Cruise chairman) Micky Arison.

From there, the Johnsons hit Ponte Cervo, another hoppin’ destination for summer yacht parties. They also checked out Port of Bonifacio and returned to Portofino, which Magic dubbed his “favorite place in the world,” despite being confused on social media as “lazy migrants” by some deeply uninformed Italians (disclaimer: I am Italian).

The Johnsons then swooped through the French Riviera to visit some pals in Cannes, Antibes, and Monte Carlo, including Lionel Ritchie, Prince Albert of Monaco, and seven-time Formula 1 champ, Lewis Hamilton. At the end of the trip, he gifted the Amadeus crew with custom Lakers jerseys.

In 2018, Magic was back at it, enjoying the South of France and the Amalfi Coast with the Jacksons. Unlike the former pro athlete, Jackson was having no part of the gym on deck, though he was appropriately amped about Magic’s birthday biscuit spread.


In July 2019, a month after Johnson abruptly stepped down as Lakers president, the Hall of Famer made the Leap: dropping $1 million per week to charter Aquila,Ā a $150 million 281-foot mega-yacht, for a swing through the Amalfi Coast.Ā Aquila features a gym, nightclub, and movie theater, and jet skis, which Johnson enjoyed as Rob Pelinka rebuilt the Lakers.

Here he is on Aquila, hosting LL Cool J, ex-NFL QB Rodney Peete, and other friends for a lavish dinner. They also met up with Naomi Campbell, whose yacht was nearby (how fun!).

During one stop on his travels, Magic ran into the one human being in the world with a tattoo of a quote from his self-help book, 32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business: “Some people want it to happen. Some wish it would happen. Others make it happen.” Write that down.

Aquila stopped in Croatia before heading to St. Tropez for Johnson’s star-studded 60th birthday bash on Pampelonne Beach. Among the guests: Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez (RIP), Anthony Anderson, Spike Lee, and Pat Riley.

Johnson’s trips ā€” which he, E.J., Cookie, and Sam and seemingly every guest thoroughly document on social media ā€” have become a prized invite amongst the elite, including Jimmy Kimmel. In 2018, Jackson joked about not inviting Kimmel due to their “no kid” policy on the boat.

That same year, Magic explained his attachment to his Eurotrips, telling Kimmel that “he loves Italian food and he loves to eat,” ā€” a classic hot take from Magic.

“I want to date my wife for a month,” he added, adorably.

In 2019, Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson told Kimmel that she unsuccessfully lobbied Jackson, her “Captial Marvel” co-star, to invite her onto Johnson’s boat, to which Kimmel could relate.

“I’ve been trying to get myself on that trip for like five years now, and I’ve never been invited,” Larson revealed.

“Me too,” Kimmel said. “I’ve asked Magic 10 times, I’ve asked Sam 5 times. They always laugh and there’s no follow up.”

That same year, Kimmel implored Johnson for an invite, once again, and, after being denied, began sharing photoshopped images of him and his wife alongside the Johnsons.

In the summer of 2020, the Johnsons wouldn’t let a little global pandemic halt their Euro getaway. Instead, the Johnsons hopped back aboard Aquila to set sail around Croatia, docking in Split for a few weeks to visit world-class restaurants and national parks. The locals noticed.

Moral of the story: it’s nice to be Magic Johnson. But you already knew that.

Now fix the Lakers again, Rob Pelinka.