Magic Johnson turned a famous person via basketball, profitable a nationwide championship with Michigan State in 1979 and 5 NBA titles with the Showtime-era Lakers.

However he turned a billionaire primarily via his enterprise offers.

In line with an article revealed by Forbes on Monday, Johnson’s web price is estimated at $1.2 billion, making him the fourth athlete acknowledged by the journal to have reached billionaire standing. He follows fellow retired NBA legend Michael Jordan (who reached billionaire standing in 2014), golfer Tiger Woods (2022) and present Lakers star LeBron James (2022).

“To hitch these three guys — MJ, Tiger, LeBron — who’ve completed lots and to get right here simply makes me really feel so good,” Johnson informed The Occasions in a telephone interview Monday afternoon. “I love them and respect them a lot as a result of they maintain going. They’re rising their model. They’re rising their firms.”

He added that one other Lakers legend ought to have made that unique record. “You already know who would have been the fifth man as a billionaire? Kobe Bryant,” Johnson stated of the Lakers legend who died in 2020 at age 41. “He was heading in that course already.”

Johnson, 64, differs from the opposite three billionaire athletes in that he amassed comparatively little of his fortune throughout his enjoying days. Though he was the face of the Lakers and one of many NBA’s best-known gamers within the Nineteen Eighties and into the ‘90s, Johnson made round $40 million in profession earnings and an extra $2 million to $4 million a yr in endorsements, in response to Forbes.

Jordan, who gained six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in the course of the Nineties, earned $94 million in wage and signing bonuses and an estimated $2.4 billion in endorsements throughout a 15-season profession that spanned from 1984 to 2003. Woods and James are nonetheless energetic athletes.

In line with Forbes, Johnson has entered the 10-figure membership primarily due to his joint enterprise ventures and partnerships. He informed The Occasions that Jordan, who was the bulk proprietor of the Charlotte Hornets from 2010 till promoting most of his stake within the crew earlier this yr, has been an inspiration.

“You want someone to push you and maintain you grinding and dealing exhausting and going after your targets and desires,” Johnson informed The Occasions. “So Michael Jordan reaching what he had achieved and being the primary one in every of us athletes to be a billionaire, that simply impressed me to maintain working exhausting.”

Johnson offers credit score to his many mentors and enterprise companions through the years.

“You don’t get there alone,” Johnson informed The Occasions. “Michael had his individuals. I’ve my individuals. This isn’t one thing that prefer it’s on my own. All these individuals who have been round me and who I simply talked about, additionally my enterprise companions who put me in an unbelievable place.”

One of many first individuals who took him below his wing within the enterprise world is late Lakers proprietor Jerry Buss, who bought Johnson a minority stake within the crew in 1994 (Johnson later bought his shares to Los Angeles Occasions proprietor Dr. Patrick Quickly-Shiong).

“Principally, you owe a whole lot of that to Dr. Buss,” Johnson informed The Occasions. “It was his mentorship. He guided me and he was that father determine that made positive I had all of the instruments crucial to achieve success. When you concentrate on days like this, you want him and my father [Earvin Johnson Sr.] had been nonetheless alive to see what I’ve completed.”

A few of Johnson’s different earlier investments included offers with Loews and Starbucks that turned fairly profitable because the basketball star helped the businesses develop into predominantly Black neighborhoods.

His investments now are broad and different, however the greatest asset in Johnson’s portfolio is his 60% share in EquiTrust Life Insurance coverage, Forbes states. Since Johnson took over as majority proprietor in 2015, the corporate’s complete belongings have risen from $16 billion to $26 billion, with annual revenues at round $2.6 billion.

He additionally has develop into a high-profile minority proprietor of a number of groups, together with the Dodgers, the Sparks, LAFC and, most not too long ago, the Washington Commanders.

“You already know what I’m actually completely satisfied about is that I’ve been in a position to put a whole lot of Black people in positions of energy and likewise assist them develop into millionaires,” Johnson stated. “I’m actually completely satisfied about that.”

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