NBA icon Magic Johnson becomes fourth athlete billionaire — here’s how he got rich

Magic Johnson waves to fans before the game.

Magic Johnson joins other NBA superstars Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Tiger Woods in this exclusive billionaire club. Ezra Shaw—Getty Images

Former basketball icon Magic Johnson has become the fourth sports star to achieve billionaire status, with a net worth of $1.2 billion. Forbes calculate.


Johnson joins other NBA superstars Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Tiger Woods in this exclusive 10-figure club.

But the 64-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers guard doesn’t make much of his wealth from sports — he only made a total of $40 million during his 13-year career with the Lakers, a far cry from LeBron’s $480 million.

Even at his peak, Johnson reportedly earned only $2 million to $4 million a year from endorsements. Forbes estimate at the time.


Instead, he acquired most of his wealth after his retirement in 1996, thanks to some smart investment moves outside of basketball.

How did Magic Johnson make a billion dollars?

Johnson has a diverse portfolio that includes investments in fast-food franchises, real estate, health care and life insurance, as well as ownership stakes in various sports teams.

The five-time NBA champion has proven over the years that he’s savvy at acquiring assets, exiting at the right time, and then reinvesting the money to expand.

Johnson bought a 4.5% stake in the Lakers back in 1994 for $10 million before selling it to health care billionaire Patrick Soon Shiong in 2010 for an undisclosed amount. Meanwhile, in 1998, he partnered with Starbucks to open more than 100 coffee shops in black communities across the country.

He sold the stores back to the company in 2010 for a reported profit of $75 million, and using the funds from that, the Lakers wrote a $50 million check in 2012 to join the Dodgers ownership group. His 2.3% stake has now more than doubled in value and is estimated to be worth $110 million.

Johnson, meanwhile, made a small investment in Simply Healthcare, and when the company sold for $1 billion in 2015, he used the money to buy a 60% stake in EquiTrust Life Insurance, an investment that brought him Big income comes.

The Iowa-based life insurance company now accounts for the majority of Johnson’s personal net worth and is the largest asset in Magic Johnson’s corporate portfolio.

According to statistics, since becoming the company’s majority shareholder, Johnson has increased the company’s total assets from US$16 billion to US$26 billion, with annual revenue hovering around US$2.6 billion. Forbeshighlighting his business acumen.

Today, Johnson has money in everything from NFTs to real estate development and PepsiCo.

last but not least

Johnson believes he might have become a billionaire sooner if he hadn’t turned down Nike stock when he entered the NBA in the 1970s. He made a deal with Converse that provided him $100,000 per year.

“My family doesn’t come from money, and that’s one thing that hurts us sometimes. When you don’t come from money, you don’t know. I didn’t even know what stocks were at the time,” Johnson told All The revealed on the Smoke podcast.

“So I gave up on the stock. Can you imagine? 45 years later, that stock would be worth $5 billion today.”

Instead, James became the first active NBA player to become a billionaire after joining. ForbesRanking last June, net worth was slightly lower at that time, at $1 billion. Woods joined the club a week ago with a net worth of $1.8 billion.

Meanwhile, Jordan recently made history by becoming the first athlete to do so, joining the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Forbes” A list of the 400 richest people in America with a net worth of $3 billion.

Like Johnson, Jordan has made billions outside of his day job, including through a lucrative licensing deal with Nike and the sale of his majority stake in NBA club Charlotte Hornets.

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