Magic Johnson Biography & Quotes: Basketball and Business

If you’re looking for a Magic Johnson biography with actionable takeaways to help level-up your business, you’re in the right place. Here, you’ll get a biography of Magic Johnson, quotes, book recommendations to inspire you in your business.

The professional world has many people in it. Some with noble character and some are sharks!

The people with noble character teach you:

  • Diligence
  • Hard work
  • Purposeful living
  • Family values
  • How to be an asset to others
  • To be good leaders and team players
  • and so many other things that result in a good reputation and memorable legacy after you’re gone from here

Alternatively, people who are sharks teach you:

  • To gossip
  • Be greedy
  • Create discord and drama
  • Lie
  • Cheat
  • Ignore your family
  • To ruin others’ families and relationships
  • See how much you can get from people
  • Live for money or material things
  • To adopt unhealthy practices
  • To be bad leaders and team players
  • and, ultimately, you create a bad reputation with trails of stories where people were encouraged to do bad things

magic johnson biographyYou might be thinking this sounds extreme, but if you think about it…

If you’re taught one small behavior like…to sell people quick products (not effective ones) and you spend your personal time going out with friends, what are you saying about quality and family values?  You’re not giving customers the best and you’re ignoring your family to place emphasis on your work and recreation.  It happens alot.  Then, when the compound effect sets in, a behavior that may seem small and nominal becomes game-changing.

A negative personal or professional spiral is so easy to get caught in. Having a reputation as a dishonest businessperson doesn’t usually start with one little lie, it’s usually one lie that turns into two that turns into three, then becomes a widespread habit.

The sharks out there sell these small seemingly nominal behaviors so well.  They make selling crappy products sound like the way to go. They make being lazy, working very little to make large sums of money without giving real value sound like the optimal path.

To see this entire biography and quotes in video, check it out here:

Business and Career Change

Added to that, not all of us are “lucky” enough to know “what we want to be” from early on.  Some of us take years and years of experimentation before we decide which profession will best exploit our skills.

We might start out in one career field and climb the ladders to a certain level, then later decide, “This career field isn’t a good fit for me”.  Some people stay put for years in career fields they know aren’t a good fit.  In fact, stats show that 60% of employees would choose a different career if they could start again, 20% of us believe we’ve never had a role that suited us and 30% of employees feel their strengths would be better suited to another career.  That’s alot of people who never feel the ultimate satisfaction of an enjoyable profession!

Others, don’t have the chance to stay in a job being complacent.  Either they’re miserable to the point they choose to make the hard choice to start over in a new career field, or they’re abruptly shifted due to health, layoffs, relocation, family issues, or otherwise.

And, career change can be very hard.  Some people will have to start at the “bottom of the totem pole”; acting almost as if they never worked anywhere.  After having a job with one income level, they have to make a switch; sometimes losing out on tens of thousands of dollars per year!  Even worse, if they weren’t careful with their spending and the accumulation of their expenses before their change in careers, they can have years of struggle as they try to figure out how to keep their debts, needs, and wants afloat.

The career change can be an emotional roller coaster and you might wonder how you can get past it into stability.  Then, when you see advice from sharks saying “do this quick tactic and you’ll make money fast”, your desperation can lead you into some very shady paths especially if you don’t have an example of someone who mastered two professions like Magic Johnson.

magic johnson biographyWho is Magic Johnson? The Magic Johnson Biography You Don’t Want to Miss…

After being diagnosed with HIV virus in 1991, basketball icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson was abruptly thrust out of his successful basketball career in the NBA into his longtime admired field of entrepreneurship.  He made the decision to retire after receiving three NBA MVP awards and many more notable accomplishments over the course of his career.

He’d dominated the court as one of America’s best basketball players for 12 years, but needed to end that endeavor to focus on his health, his family (as a newlywed and expectant father), and his life as a new businessman. It was alot of change that happened for him in 1991.

But, Magic Johnson prevailed.

Many onlookers thought he was crazy, the announcement of his retirement was unexpected, and he didn’t always make the most business “savvy” decisions, but similar to others who change careers, there are some growing pains.  Magic didn’t allow the learning curve, the public humiliation, or the transitions in his personal life (learning to be a husband and father) stop him from pursuing success in a second (and very different) career field.

Magic Johnson’s Background and Early Life

Born in Lansing, Michigan on August 15, 1959 as the seventh child of nine, Magic was raised to know more than average about personalities, competition, work ethic, individuality, and how to overcome adversity.  His father, Earvin Sr. worked three jobs to take care of his family, and his mother, Christian Johnson worked at the school cafeteria.  With nine kids, they had their share of obstacles to overcome to ensure everyone had food, clothes, meals, and recreation, but they succeeded on many fronts, and taught a plethora of lessons Magic credits them for along the way.

He describes that his parents stressed education and sports, but made education the first priority requirement.  They didn’t push him to choose a specified career path, so his siblings have professions like teachers and factory workers, but Magic had a drive to pursue basketball and entrepreneurship.

Magic Johnson’s Adult Life

After an iconic span of championships all thru high school then following him into college, Magic was drafted first overall in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers.  Johnson says one of the most amazing things about being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers was playing alongside Kareem Abdul Jabbar who became the NBA’s leading scorer in NBA history.

During his career in the NBA, Johnson acquired several notable accomplishments including:

  • He’s the only NBA player in history to win a MVP award as a rookie (in his first year in the NBA)
  • 3x NBA Finals MVP (1980, 1982, 1987)
  • 5x NBA Champion (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987–88)
  • 4x NBA runner-up (1983, 1984, 1989, 1991)
  • 8x NBA Finals assists leader (1980, 1983–85, 1987–89, 1991)
  • Holds the all-time record for highest career assists-per-game average—11.2
  • Holds the all-time record for most assists in Playoffs—2,346
  • Johnson is also the only player in NBA history to have at least 2000 assist in a playoff career
  • Holds the all-time record for highest assists-per-game average in Playoffs—12.4
  • Holds the all-time record for most triple-doubles in Playoffs—30

But, not only did Magic Johnson have an amazing career in basketball, but he’s taken it to the next level with his career as a Businessman…

Magic Johnson and Entrepreneurship

In 1987, Magic Johnson founded Magic Johnson Enterprises, a billion-dollar business conglomerate that includes/included:

  • ASPIRE, a television network
  • Magic Johnson Theaters
  • Burker King Restaurants
  • Health Clubs
  • Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academies – To help high school dropouts get diplomas
  • Clear Health Alliance – To help HIV/AIDS patients get the care they need
  • He previously owned 105 Starbucks’
  • He previously owned 4.5% of the Lakers
  • Participated as an investor to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.15 Billion

Magic has grown his company to be worth $1 billion dollars, and his net worth to $500 million.  He’s known as one of the most successful black businessmen in the US, and one of five on the Fortune 500 list.

Magic Johnson Quotes

“The same principles really apply from being a basketball player as well as a CEO.  When you think about focus, strategy, discipline, so I’m still that same guy that has those same principles as a CEO.”

“I took that same competitive spirit to the boardroom as well.”

“I’m a perfectionist. I was a perfectionist as a basketball player. I did the same drills over and over and over.”

“I’m a guy whose gonna get there early….I’m a professional.”

“I asked Dr. Butts. I said, ‘My dream is not just to win championships, but I want to become a businessman after my career with the Lakers, and he took me under his wing and became my mentor.”

“I called the PR man from the Lakers and I told him ‘I want to know all the people from the floor, so I cold called 20 people and said, “Would you go to lunch with me?’. I picked their brain about business and what made them successful, and I incorporated that into my own style.”

“First they said I wouldn’t be able to play point guard at 6’9″, then I proved them wrong.  Then, they said I couldn’t go to the basketball court to the boardroom, and it’s been my pleasure proving them wrong again.”

“Basketball prepared me for the boardroom. No doubt about it.”

“What made me a good basketball player, didn’t make me a good CEO.”

“Somebody is finally going to say ‘no’ to you.”

“You have to have a thirst for knowledge.”

Takeaways From The Quotes

1. Honor other people’s time

2. Get mentorship

3. Apply focus, strategy, and discipline to become successful

4. Don’t forget the marketplace is a competition

5. Stay thirsty for knowledge

6. Leverage your present circumstance to build your future

7. Don’t shy away because of naysayers, prove them wrong!

8. Be ready for rejection

Magic Johnson Playlist

Magic Johnson has so many great life lessons to teach: from maintaining big dreams (even in poverty) to dealing with chronic disease in the spotlight, this video playlist gives you the chance to hear directly from him. Check it out!

Recommendations for More on Magic Johnson

If you’d like to read or study more about Magic Johnson, check out these books:

32 Ways To Become a Champion in Business

Believing in Magic by Cookie Johnson (Magic’s Wife)

Final Words on this Magic Johnson Biography and Quotes

The goal of this article was to show you an example of a very successful entrepreneur who overcame many challenges like:

  • Career change
  • Parenthood
  • Marriage
  • Celebrity life
  • and more

Magic is an example to prove that you can be successful in multiple career and you can overcome career change. If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section.  I’d love to help you out!

If you’d like to start or scale your business, check out my free e-course. It’s a framework to grow your business: from idea to enterprise. Check out the free e-course here.

Now, it’s Your Turn…

What’s you’re favorite Magic Johnson quote?  What did you learn from his life story?  How takeaways did you get from this article?  Leave your comments below.

6 thoughts on “Magic Johnson Biography & Quotes: Basketball and Business”

  1. What a great way to introduce a legend in basketball, Magic Johnson. Wow that was a great read. I didn’t know most of the things I read here. Very informative and interesting how the life of a legend turned out to be. His life is truly Inspirational. Thanks for sharing this. 

    1. Hi Andrea! I really enjoyed learning new things about Magic Johnson. He is definitely an inspiration, and someone for entrepreneurs to learn great principles from.

  2. Wow, this is so much I never knew about Magic Johnson. What an inspirational person! I totally agree with you about some people having noble character while others are sharks. While it needs to be understood that sales people obviously need to make a living, we need to be careful that we don’t put ourselves before our customer. We need to be a support and guide for those we want to reach. People will come back to us if we display noble character towards them–they will be able to tell!

  3. It seems that most people aren’t working in their dream jobs, and that they work to earn an income rather than to enjoy what they are doing. I have done the same for the past 30 years but now I want to do the things I want to do. I have always wanted to have my own online business earning a passive income. If done right, I can sit back in a couple of years and let the passive income roll in, while I travel and have the freedom to do whatever I want to do. 

    It seems that Magic had a wake up call when he got aids and ended up reviewing his situation, but look at what he has achieved as a result of adversity – it’s a great story!

    I beleive that the internet has provided so many opportunities that people don’t have to have a wake-up call to change thier circumstances. Having an online business is available to anyone who wants to put the time in, and if done right, their lives can be changed forever.

    Thanks for a great article,

    regards,

    Rina

    1. Hi Rina! The stats show that most people are working jobs they don’t enjoy. It sounds like you managed to push yourself for a long time before choosing on a career change. Glad you’re pursuing something you enjoy now. Best of wishes for your success.

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