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How Magic Johnson Became the Business Icon He Is Today

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Athletes, CEOs, and leaders aren't born great. Sure, they may have some of the right characteristics, like weight, height, brains, or natural charisma, but their greatness comes from hard work, grit, and a belief that their dreams can and will come true.

This is certainly the case for basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

In 1990, former Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Richard Hoffer wrote a profile of the then-Lakers star. Today, in an interview with SI, Hoffer recalls an anecdote that stood out to him from the interview with Johnson all these years later.

"He told me that he would dribble his basketball all the way to work. Put the basketball in the restroom while he worked. And then when everyone was gone, he would sit in his boss' chair with his feet up on the desk and imagine himself barking orders to imaginary employees," he said.


"I don't think he wanted to be rich. I don't think he wanted to be powerful. I think he wanted to be important," Hoffer added.

Johnson's ambitions of success in the business world dated back to his high school days, when he imagined himself telling a team of people what to do.

Today, we know Johnson not only as one of the basketball greats and the former president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers, but as a business powerhouse in the boardroom. Johnson is the CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, an investment conglomerate valued at approximately $1 billion. In 2015, he completed his planned acquisition for a "majority, controlling interest" in EquiTrust Life Insurance Company.

Although Johnson's net worth isn't known, it's estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars.

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