Basketball legend turned billionaire to give AVMA Keynote

Earvin “Magic” Johnson will discuss teamwork and tenacity at AVMA Convention 2024

Earvin “Magic” Johnson might be best known for leading the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships in the ’80s. But since retiring from basketball in 1991 after announcing his HIV diagnosis, he’s worked just as hard off the court developing an investment firm that answer the demands of multicultural communities.

Johnson will deliver the AVMA Keynote at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, in Exhibit Hall 5. The event is part of AVMA Convention 2024, being held June 21-25 in Austin, Texas. The talk is sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition in partnership with the AVMA Trusts.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time, will give the keynote on June 22 at AVMA Convention 2024 in Austin, Texas.

Open to all convention attendees, Johnson’s talk “Making the Magic Happen” will focus on the importance of teamwork and how he builds up those around him, both in his personal and professional life. The NBA Hall of Famer will also share how he transferred his skills and tenacity he developed on the court into a winning formula in the business arena.

Johnson is chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, which serves as a catalyst for fostering community and economic empowerment by providing access to entertainment, products, and services.

Where the ‘Magic’ began

Johnson started out from humble beginnings. He was born August 14, 1959, in Lansing, Michigan. His father, Earvin Johnson Sr., worked the night shift at General Motors, and his mother, Christine, was a school custodian, according to his father’s obituary in the Lansing Journal. Johnson Sr. also worked part-time at a nearby gas station and operated his own trash-collecting business that his sons would help at as well.

Johnson earned his nickname “Magic” in high school for his creative ballhandling. He led his high school basketball team to a state championship in 1977 and led Michigan State University to the NCAA championship in 1979. He left Michigan State after his sophomore season and was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft.

During his rookie season, the Lakers won the NBA championship over the Philadelphia 76ers. In the sixth and final game of the 1979-80 NBA finals, Johnson remarkably played all five positions and become the first rookie to win the NBA finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

Johnson later guided the Lakers to NBA championships in 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988. He was also named the league MVP in 1987, 1989, and 1990. He is one of nine players in NBA history to win MVP at least three times.

The 6’9” point guard could score from anywhere on the court, averaging 19.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game over his 13-year career. He was also known for his signature no-look and bounce passes as well as his rivalry with Boston Celtics' Larry Bird.

On November 7, 1991, Johnson shocked the world when he announced that he was HIV-positive and was immediately retiring from the sport. At the time of his initial retirement, Johnson was the NBA’s all-time leader in assists. He returned to basketball to participate in the 1992 All-Star Game and in the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, where he helped the U.S. “Dream Team” capture the men’s basketball gold medal.

He returned to the Lakers for one more season in 1995 and retired a final time following that season in 1996. Johnson was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.

Post-basketball career

Since his retirement, Johnson has been an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention as well as a philanthropist, broadcaster, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur.

Johnson’s been so successful in business that last year he became the fourth athlete to become a billionaire, alongside Tiger Woods, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan. According to Forbes’s calculations, he has a net worth of approximately $1.2 billion.

Most of Johnson’s wealth has come from smart business investments rather than his days as a professional athlete. According to Forbes, his total career earnings “add up to around $40 million.”
Instead, the majority of his earnings come from his 2015 purchase of EquiTrust, a life insurance company that he currently owns a 60% stake in.

Johnson has also made other lucrative investments and generated business through his investment company Magic Johnson Enterprises, including Loew’s movie theaters and Starbucks cafes he’s opened in predominantly Black neighborhoods, as well as investments in Burger King and 24 Hour Fitness locations.

Forbes reported that the company is now estimated to be worth $26 billion and generates $2.6 billion in annual revenue.

Johnson also owns stakes in the NFL’s Washington Commanders, the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, and the MLS’s Los Angeles Football Club.
A docuseries about Johnson’s life and career, “They Call Me Magic,” debuted in 2022.

Doors open for Johnson's keynote session at 9:45 a.m., and seating is first come, first served. Immediately following the keynote, the exhibit hall grand opening will take place.