Turning the Magic On: How Johnson Built an Empire

“You’re the only one who can make the difference. Whatever your dream is, go for it.”

Those are the words from one of the world’s most successful athletes cum entrepreneurs. From a humble upbringing characterized by a strong work ethic, to a career distinguished by big deals and even larger profits, Johnson has defied his critics to create a multi-million dollar business empire. How did he do it?

Hard Work: “Research your idea. See if there's a demand,” cautions Johnson. “A lot of people have great ideas, but they don't know if there's a need for it. You also have to research your competition.” Johnson got to where he is today – both on the court and off – by doing his research, and following that up with nothing but hard work. “It’s all a process, you know. And I stay on top of it.”

Recovery: “Everything is for a reason; I don't go back,” Johnson once said. “HIV happened for a reason. I'm a person who moves forward, and I continue to do it.” When Johnson was asked by a journalist if it is tougher to go from success to failure, or from failure to success, Johnson replied, “You’ll have to ask somebody else that. I haven’t failed at too many things, so I don’t know.” Although his career has largely been characterized by success, Johnson has not been immune to the occasional failure. What made his success even more impressive, however, was how he learned and rebounded from those failures.

Market: “Those kids who come to my theatres have to know they have someone they can look up to in the business community, so that’s why I want to be the best and the biggest,” says Johnson. “You get gratified even more so with business because you're touching so many people's lives. I love doing that.” Johnson made a career out of serving markets that everybody else was overlooking. He did it for the community, and he did it for the good business that it brought.

Vision: “Everyone looks at me and still sees basketball,” says Johnson. “But I run all my companies. People who don't know me may not believe that. But if they come in here and want to do some business, they'll find that out fast enough.” Johnson distinguished himself both as a champion point guard and a as businessman as someone with vision, as a man who knew where he wanted to go, and brought the best people on board to help him get there.

Persistence: “Yeah, I'm used to pressure, and that's why I've done well in business,” says Johnson. “When I'm under the gun and I've got pressure on me, I don't panic. I look for the right solution, and then I go for it. Of course, I'm not in it for the quick hit; I'm in it for [the long haul].” Johnson overcame the stigma of having HIV, of being a black businessman, and of being thought of as nothing but a basketball player, to create a business empire, and he did by being persistent.

“Magic is who I am on the basketball court,” Johnson once said. “Earvin is who I am.” By building a business empire, Johnson has proven to the world that Earvin is an entrepreneur worthy of the success he has achieved.

“I want to be remembered for my business, because it helped my community and my people. I used to [play basketball]. Now I do this. And I want to be one of the best,” he says. “I love it. I wouldn't want it any other way. It keeps me on my toes; it keeps me sharp.”

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