Basketball Hall-of-Famer, Renowned Entrepreneur Magic Johnson to Keynote Response Expo 2011
Not many hall-of-fame professional athletes have forged a business career that would make their sports exploits pale in comparison. However, Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s off-court success – in both business and philanthropic endeavors – during the past two decades has become nearly as legendary as his on-court prowess as a five-time NBA world champion and three-time NBA most valuable player during his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
It’s that business success – based on the teamwork and leadership he cultivated during his playing days – which Johnson will discuss as the keynote speaker at Response Expo 2011. His powerful message, presented by Euro RSCG Edge, kicks off the Expo on Tuesday, May 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. “We are thrilled to bring Magic Johnson’s lively and engaging speaking skills to our attendees,” says John Yarrington, publisher of Response and event director of Response Expo. “More importantly, his incredible success in sports and business, his understanding of teamwork and creativity, and his work for charitable causes should enthrall and educate the leaders of the direct response marketing world.”
Thomas Haire, editor-in-chief of Response Magazine and content director of Response Expo, adds, “Magic Johnson’s ability to combine competitiveness with joy on the basketball court made him one of the most compelling athletes of the 20th century. He brings those two seemingly divergent skills to his business and philanthropic goals, making him one of the most important and successful businessmen of this new century. I have no doubt that Response Expo’s attendees will not only enjoy, but learn from, Magic’s presentation.”
Johnson, chairman and CEO of Johnson Development Corp. and Magic Johnson Enterprises, spent 13 seasons with the Lakers (1979-91; 1996). His play was renowned for its emphasis on teamwork and creativity, and his infectious smile showed a joy for the game rarely seen since. He retired originally on Nov. 7, 1991, after announcing that he’d been diagnosed as HIV-positive. At the time, his diagnosis was seen as a near-death sentence, as knowledge of AIDS and HIV was very limited. He immediately went to work to raise funds for research and to help those with the disease, forming what became the Magic Johnson Foundation.
The foundation, today, is committed to improving the quality of life in urban communities, and has distributed more than 800 college scholarships to deserving minority students and has opened AIDS/HIV clinics in four cities. In addition, Johnson – who was featured on the cover of Response Magazine in May 2003 – has created 21 Magic Johnson Empowerment Centers to help bridge the digital divide in low-income communities.
"Doing business and giving back really go hand-in-hand," Johnson said on his Web site. "It's the best way to truly create a win-win situation for everyone. If the community is happy, then they support your business and if your business is doing well, then you can give even more back to the community." Speaking of doing business, Johnson Development Corporation is dedicated to urban revitalization by providing entertainment complexes, restaurants and retail centers in underserved communities nationwide. The company operates 103 Starbucks nationwide – the coffee giant’s only franchised locations – and has also opened six AMC Magic Johnson Theater complexes across the United States. In addition, Johnson has invested millions of dollars in urban areas via the Canyon Johnson Urban Fund, the result of his partnership with Canyon Capital Realty Advisors. The partnership has raised more than $900 million and has acquired 24 properties to assist in the revitalization of underserved communities.
Magic Johnson Enterprises handles business development, asset acquisitions, endorsements, licensing, motivational media, personal appearances, urban marketing and business-to-business relationships that benefit underserved communities. Partnerships with corporations such as Burger King (Johnson owns 31 franchises) help bring quality and convenience to urban America. The firm operates a dozen 24 Hour Fitness Magic Sport centers, and has established 27 Washington Mutual Home Loan Centers and partnerships with NASCAR, Cadbury Schweppes, Lincoln, the Zimmerman Agency and TNT.
Magic Johnson Enterprises recently launched two new initiatives: the Magic Johnson Travel Group and SodexhoMagic. The Magic Johnson Travel Group is the first multicultural home-based travel agent initiative and franchise network. It is designed to cultivate growth in the minority travel market and develop entrepreneurs from urban America. SodexhoMagic will provide an extensive portfolio of food and facilities management services as well as offer signature dining facilities.
All Access Badge required for this event.