Born on Aug. 14, 1959 in Lansing, Michigan, Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. would go on to become one of the most recognizable faces in the sporting world. With five championships and three NBA Finals MVPs to his credit, the Lakers legend is a pillar of the NBA’s history.
Johnson enjoyed a successful career on the court, but he has also flourished in many fruitful endeavors off the hardwood. As of 2020, the 60-year-old entrepreneur is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $600 million, but how did the Lakers icon get to this point?
After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was taken No. 1 overall by the Lakers (1979). In the early 1980s, he signed a 25-year, $25-million contract with Los Angeles. That’s right … 25 years. The contract started in 1984 and expired in 2009. The idea was to have Johnson serve as part of the team’s front office in the future — an idea that later came to fruition.
Johnson announced his retirement in 1991 after learning that he had tested positive for HIV. He returned to the NBA as coach of the Lakers near the end of the 1993-94 NBA season, taking the reins for a team that had a 28-38 overall record. Notably, five of his former teammates were on the roster at that time, including Vlade Divac, Elden Campbell, Tony Smith, Kurt Rambis, James Worthy, and Michael Cooper. Magic would later make his return as a player for the Lakers (1995-96 season) before hanging up his playing shoes for good.
In February 2017, Johnson became the president of basketball operations for the Lakers, replacing Jim Buss. The team failed to reach the playoffs during his brief executive tenure, but they were able to acquire LeBron James in 2018. Johnson abruptly stepped down from the position in 2019.
Beyond his outstanding playing career, Johnson has proven to be a savvy businessman. He has invested in a wide range of ventures over the years, including real estate, coffee shops, record labels, movie theaters and sporting goods stores.
In March 2012, he became partial owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2014, Johnson took part in the purchase of the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. He has also become a popular media figure, appearing on a wide variety of talk and debate shows.
Johnson earned nearly $40 million in salary during his NBA career. His investment firm, Magic Johnson Enterprises, now has holdings worth an estimated $1 billion across various industries.
Magic surely has plenty of magic left in him when it comes to making money, so we’ll see where he goes from here.