As the Los Angeles Lakers set off for Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, Earvin “Magic” Johnson asked the flight attendant if he could take Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s seat on the plane.
The rookie point guard knew the team was pessimistic about their chances of beating the 76ers without team captain Abdul-Jabbar, who was out due to an injury.
Johnson set off to change their outlook. He sat in the very first seat on the plane, where Abdul-Jabbar always sat, and as every other Lakers player walked past him on their way to their seat, he repeated: “Never fear, Magic is here.”
It was intentional, and he proved it. In Game 6, Johnson scored 42 points, including hitting all 14 of his free throws. He also had 15 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and one blocked shot.
“It’s about mindset and attitude. And when we got to Philadelphia, I changed their mindset and attitude,” Johnson said during a talk at NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show in New York City. “The next day we beat Philadelphia without Kareem.”
MAGIC JOHNSON JOINS JOSH HARRIS’S GROUP FOR COMMANDERS BID: REPORTS
It was that undeterred attitude that defined him as a leader on the basketball court, as he became the only player in NBA history to be named MVP during the NBA finals as a rookie.
It is the same mindset and attitude he seeks out when recruiting people to join his investment company, Magic Johnson Enterprises.
“I only hire people like that. The same type of mindset, the same type of dedication, the same type of discipline, the same type of focus,” Johnson said while speaking with Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner. “That’s what I want. I want people running with me that have that same mindset.”
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXBUSINESS.COM
With Magic Johnson Enterprises, the former NBA player formed partnerships with companies such as Sony Pictures and Starbucks, underpinning his role as an entrepreneur.
Both ventures “served as catalysts for redevelopment in urban communities, and are widely recognized as the corporate blueprint for engagement and success with urban consumers across America,” according to the company’s website.
Since then, Johnson formed an alliance with Loop Capital to create MJE-Loop Capital Partners, which has raised a fund investing millions of dollars on infrastructure improvement across the U.S.
He holds controlling interests in EquiTrust, a multibillion-dollar financial services company, and SodexoMAGIC, a food service and facilities management company and serves on the board of directors for the sports licensing company Fanatics.
He also maintains a foothold within the sports industry. He owns a 2.3% stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers, is co-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, is one of the owners of Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Football Club and is a member of the investment group, aXiomatic Gaming, that owns the eSports franchise, Team Liquid.
TWO GROUPS SUBMIT RECORD $6 BILLION BIDS FOR WASHINGTON COMMANDERS FRANCHISE: REPORT
While Johnson has cultivated a name for himself as an athlete and business magnate, he credits much of his success to having mentors, who held him accountable to achieve his goals.
His first mentor was former Lakers’ owner, the late Dr. Jerry Buss.
“He really helped me and gave me so many great nuggets on what made him successful as a businessman,” Johnson said. “He introduced me to a lot of other successful businessmen and women.”
In fact, Johnson recalled asking him for the contact information for all the CEOs who held season tickets for the Lakers. Johnson took all 50 of them to lunch to “pick their brain.”
Six of them became mentors. He is still in business with those six to this day, he said.
Johnson said his advice to younger generations is to have a three-year plan and ensure somebody” is going to hold you accountable.”
One of the key lessons he also tries to instill in others is that self evaluation is critical component to being successful.
“Make sure you’re honest with yourself [about your] strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWAT),” Johnson said. He does this SWAT analysis for his role as a businessman, husband and father.
“I want to get better in all the areas, not just being a CEO and a leader,” he said. “I’m always driven to improve. I don’t ever want to stop learning. I always want to get better.”
A vital lesson he has learned throughout his career is that “it’s hard to become number one, but it’s even harder to stay number one.”
Read the full article here