Magic Johnson established himself as one of the greatest NBA players ever back in the 1980s, and along with Boston Celtics superstar Larry Bird, the Los Angeles Lakers great rescued the league and made it into what it is today.
He transformed the Lakers from a bridesmaid franchise into the gold standard of basketball, leading them to five world championships in his first nine seasons. Along the way, he was the central player in the cultural phenomenon that became known simply as “Showtime.”
Since retiring for good in 1996, Johnson has become a major business mogul. After decades of hard work that began during his playing days, he is now a billionaire, according to Forbes magazine.
What makes his net worth unique among pro athletes is that, unlike fellow Lakers superstar and billionaire LeBron James, a minuscule amount of Johnson’s wealth comes from his actual basketball career.
Via Yahoo Finance:
“Johnson joins fellow NBA superstars Michael Jordan and LeBron James, as well as Tiger Woods, to join the exclusive 10-figure club,” wrote Orianna Rosa Royle.
“But most of the 64-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers guard’s wealth doesn’t come from sports—he only earned a total of $40 million during his 13-year career with the Lakers, a far cry from LeBron’s $480 million.
“Even during his prime playing years, Johnson only pulled in some $2 million-$4 million per year in endorsements, according to Forbes estimates at the time.
“Instead, much of his fortune has come after his 1996 retirement, thanks to some smart investment moves outside of basketball.”
Johnson’s business portfolio includes and has included a number of fast food and Starbucks franchises, a chain of movie theaters, investments in healthcare and life insurance companies and stakes in multiple pro sports teams.
About a decade ago, he headlined an ownership group that bought the Los Angeles Dodgers while turning them from a perennially struggling franchise to a perennial World Series contender. Earlier this year, Johnson teamed up with billionaire investor Sam Harris to purchase the Washington Commanders from the controversial and troubled Daniel Snyder.
He also was a part-owner of the Lakers starting in the mid-1990s, and he sold his stake in the franchise to physician Dr. Patrick Soon Shiong in 2010.
In building up his business empire, Johnson has managed to create many jobs and career opportunities for many disadvantaged Black individuals.