Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is an example of how it is possible to take situations that are perceived as negative, and turn them into positives that inspire others to improve their lives.
He grew up in a working class town in Lansing, Michigan and fostered a huge desire to play basketball from a young age.
‘If the school bus left at 7 O’clock in the morning, then I would be out there at 6 O’clock at the playground before the bus left, working on my game.’ – Magic Johnson
After becoming infected with the HIV virus at the height of his career, Magic was forced to deal with stigmas about the ignorance and fear of fellow players and society at large.
He threw himself into business and put up his own money to invest in underserved communities in urban areas. He partnered with corporations such as Sony to build movie theatres and built a brand by customising the food and beverages to suit the urban market.
Magic took things to the next level when he managed to build a partnership with the Starbucks coffee chain, and he has successfully launched hundreds of locations and is set to enjoy further growth.
Although it has not been without its challenges, Magic’s journey from the locker-room to the boardroom has been an incredible success story so far, and who would bet against him taking things to an even higher level in the future.
‘I grew up poor, but I didn’t have poor dreams.’ – Magic Johnson
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