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The Newest Billionaire

Courtesy of Shayan Asgharnia/Variety

Earvin "Magic" Johnson is officially a billionaire. He joins this exclusive club with three other athletes and they are “Lebron James, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan.” Johnson was just named a billionaire by Forbes with an overall net worth of $1.2 billion. Johnson played for 13 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers, and as a result of that, he made around $110 million with the adjustment for inflation over the years since he played.

After his time playing in the NBA, Johnson invested 60% of his earnings into the life insurance company EquiTrust. This life insurance company’s assets have grown from $16 billion to $26 billion with the annual revenue being around $2.6 billion. Johnson has also added a stake in the Washington Commanders. He also has a 2.3% stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers MLB team and a minority ownership of the LAFC MLS team, and the Los Angeles Sparks WNBA team.

Courtesy of Getty Image

Jerry Buss was an influential part of Johnson's basketball career and helped to develop the Los Angeles Lakers as well, Johnson was taught from a very young age by the former owner of the Los Angeles Lakers Jerry Buss that his money would be able to grow if he was smart with the money and invested it into companies that would show future potential.

Johnson also uses his money to give back to predominantly black neighborhoods in Los Angeles. One example of this is that he has a 50/50 venture with Starbucks to open cafes that are in black neighborhoods. Loews has also partnered with Johnson so that they can bring more theaters in major cities that have a high black population such as Los Angeles, New York City, Houston, and Atlanta.

Early in his career, Johnson made a mistake that could’ve prevented him into this billionaire club a lot sooner when he passed on a deal with Nike that would have been worth $5.2 billion today in the Nike stock. Johnson decided at the time that physical money was better than stock and signed with the Converse shoe brand for $100,000 in cash. At the time, Johnson was coming from a very poor household and wanted to be able to use the money right away to help his daily life, so he decided it was better to be able to get the money in cash instead of stock.

Johnson has also said that he believes that the late Kobe Bryant would have been a billionaire by now because of how smart he was with how he invested his money and with his post-retirement deal with Nike. Johnson also has deals with 24 Hour Fitness and T.G.I. Fridays which, adds to more of his yearly revenue during his retirement.

Johnson knows that he has made mistakes throughout the years with his money but has made up for it with more recent deals and television appearances. Johnson also owned 105 Starbucks outlets and held a 4.5% stake in the Los Angeles Lakers but has since sold them for an estimated $100 million.

Johnson will always be remembered as a Hall of Fame basketball player, but now he will also be remembered as one of very few professional athletes to be a billionaire and those are two things nobody can ever take from him.

Courtesy of Getty Image

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