A Night of Pure "Magic"
Posted by Jasmine Ahdout
Oct 8, 2006, 22:00
BEVERLY HILLS — Earvin “Magic” Johnson is no stranger to being the focus of attention and the top of his game, whether it be on the basketball court or out in the business scene. On Friday, Sept. 29, the biggest names in business, sports and entertainment gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to honor Johnson and together celebrate his 25 years of business success.
The title of the night’s event was “Magic Evolution,” a star-studded gala that honored Johnson’s numerous partnerships and accomplishments and helped kick off the next 25 years of success. Best known for his 13-year career in the NBA, Johnson segued into the business world with a savvy that is admired, if not envied, by most.
Former Lakers superstar, Rick Fox, is one of the many NBA basketball stars who look up to Johnson for advice and guidance to succeed in the business world. One of Fox’s most memorable moments with Johnson included an exclusive business meeting the two had about three months ago.
“Magic has opened up many doors for me as a business man,” Fox said. “His dedication to seeing others come behind him and his willingness to share that knowledge with me was really quite exciting for me.”
Other former NBA basketball players, including Dennis Rodman and James Worthy, also came out to support Johnson and reminisce on memorable times they have shared with him, not only on the court, but also out in the business world. Present NBA basketball players, including Baron Davis and Paul Pierce, also shared their appreciation, as they recollected looking to Johnson as teenager, aspiring to one day play professional basketball. Davis and Pierce were hand picked by Johnson himself and chose to continue his 20-year legacy of the “Midsummer Night’s Dream” basketball charity event.
“I think one of Magic’s greatest attributes is definitely his charisma,” Pierce said. “I look up to Magic as a great model and I hope to follow his footsteps in the future.”
The memorable evening began with a VIP cocktail reception, followed by a dinner and a program spotlighting highlights from Johnson’s career on and off the court, and assisted by personal stories from key industry players and business executives. Johnson was also honored by Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaragosa, during the dinner presentation. The gala featured a special surprise performance by a legendary music act and the festivities continued with celebrated hip-hop entertainer Biz Markie behind the turn tables.
Johnson had a remarkable 13-year career in the NBA, and is best known for taking the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships, and being named NBA MVP three times and NBA finals MVP three times. A legend in the ********, in the community and in the business world, Johnson has brought his touch to numerous charities and businesses since he began his career, including the eponymous Magic Foundation.
“Magic Johnson has successfully incorporated the world of athletics—the disciple and the attitude—into his business life,” Fox remarked.
The mission of his foundation is to identify and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of children, young adults and inner city communities throughout the nation. Johnson’s foundation also donates funds to organizations that provide HIV/AIDS prevention and health care education to the minority community. Johnson is appreciated by many for using his celebrity to raise money as well as a public consciousness for such a crucial cause.
When asked why he and his wife decided to drive themselves to the event, instead of arriving in a lavish limo, Johnson responded, “I am just a regular guy and continue to live like a normal person.”
It is obvious that Johnson's standards for “normal” are indeed quite high.