Magic Johnson could have been a billionaire years ago, but he passed up a lucrative offer in disguise early on in his NBA career. The basketball great recently said he is still kicking himself for naively chasing fast money when he had no understanding of the long money game.
In a clip circulating across social media on Saturday (Jan. 14), Johnson appeared on the “All The Smoke” podcast, where he divulged tales about his career on and off the court. When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Johnson in 1979, he became an instant star. Alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott and others, the 6’ 9″ basketball standout ushered in the team’s “Showtime Era.” He also helped lead them to an NBA Championship win in his rookie season, a feat that only he has achieved. He instantly became a hot commodity and the target of corporations hoping to land him as a sponsored athlete.
“Here I am just winning a national championship against Larry Bird, and three companies came in — Converse, Adidas and Nike,” recalled the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. The three-time NBA MVP continued, “Nike was just a year or two old. And so, Converse offered me the most money. So, you know, when you grow up broke, you take the money.”
View this post on Instagram
The mogul previously revealed that Converse offered him $100,000 for every year he was signed to them. Nike’s offer, however, would not result in him pocketing cash upfront. “Phil Knight (Nike co-founder) came in [and] said, ‘Hey, I can’t offer you the same type of money, but I can offer you stock,’” he recalled. To be exact, Nike was willing to pay him $1 for every pair of shoes sold and 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, according to Cassius. At the time, one share was worth about $0.18, which is nothing compared to today’s price of $128.85.
Johnson clenched his teeth and placed his hands on his head as he let out a frustrated sigh. “I wasn’t [trying to hear that] and I didn’t know nothin’ about it,” said the retired legend. “My family didn’t come from money. That’s one thing that hurts us sometimes, when you don’t come from money… I didn’t even know what stocks was at that time. So I passed on the stocks. Can you imagine 45 years, $5 billion [is what] that stock would have been worth today,” he added.
Last year, while on a promotional tour for his Apple TV docuseries, “They Call Me Magic,” he joked about the decision. “It kills me every single time I think about that. Man, Michael Jordan would have been making me so much money,” said the successful businessman. While he may have missed out on a boatload of money, Johnson has still made a fortune with his various endeavors and has remained a relevant figure in the sports world.
View Magic Johnson’s full interview below.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Check out our gift guide that highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds in time for Black Friday.
“REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy Rue counts down the top five moments from the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including surprising wins, historic firsts, and dope performances. Sponsored by Amazon.
On Oct. 10, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University.
The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour made its final stop at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) and left a lasting impact on students and alumni alike.
Below, our gift guide highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds for anyone in need of a home refresh.
After unveiling their state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University, Walmart brought the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to Virginia State University (VSU) on Oct. 13.
Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour brings attention and wisdom to North Carolina Central University
On Oct. 17, Walmart brought the third stop of the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to North Carolina Central University (NCCU).
Groovey Lew on hip hop style, Johnell Young's industry secrets, BGS salon's wig mastery and more | 'Black Girl Stuff'
Fashion King Groovey Lew on masterminding hip-hop’s most iconic looks. Actor Johnell Young reveals the secret to breaking into the entertainment industry. Celebrity hairstylist Dontay Savoy and got2B ambassador Tokyo Stylez are in the BGS Salon with the perfect wig install. Plus, comedian Lauren Knight performs.
On this all-new episode of “On In 5,” multitalented Nigerian artist Pheelz opens up about waiting for his opportunity to fully express himself through music, his inspirations and emotions, and the musical icons he grew up admiring. Watch!
Kareem Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke & networking | 'The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels'
On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels,” the host and REVOLT CEO sits down with Kareem Cook. Throughout the introspective episode, Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke and being nervous to be in the South at the time, network vs. education, taking advantage of your opportunities, and connecting with Debbie Allen. Watch!
Tiffany Haddish on therapy, wild fan interactions & the upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' movie | 'The Jason Lee Show'
On this all-new episode of “The Jason Lee Show,” the one and only Tiffany Haddish sits for a must-watch conversation about wild interactions with fans, her new movie ‘Haunted Mansion,’ bringing her therapist on dates, and being present. Watch the hilarious interview here.
For this all-new episode of “On In 5,” singer-songwriter BNXN discusses his journey from IT to music, finding his voice and originality, linking up with Wizkid for their hits “Mood” and “Many Ways,” and what fans can expect from him this year — including a new album. Watch the full episode here!
This is the inspiring story of Karen Washington, a pioneering urban farmer who has been revolutionizing urban spaces by transforming them into vibrant community gardens and educational hubs. Sponsored by State Farm.
In October, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University. The HBCU located in Wilberforce, OH was the first stop on Walmart’s Black and Unlimited HBCU Tour.
“Every time I’m in trouble, it’s been Black men that have come to my aid,” Madam DA Fani Willis said at REVOLT WORLD while speaking on the stereotype that they are not dependable or worth dating.
Lauren London sparks conversation on how Black parents unintentionally give kids negative outlook on money
At the live taping of “Assets Over Liabilities” at REVOLT WORLD, Lauren London opened up about how witnessing the financial decisions adults made during her childhood fueled her outlook on money.
Black media leaders stress the space's importance because we're always antagonists in mainstream's storytelling
“I definitely feel those ‘heavier is the crown’ moments. But I also believe that Black entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to be successful in the future,” Detavio Samuels said at AfroTech.
In this new episode of ‘Bet on Black,’ food and beverage take center stage as aspiring Black entrepreneurs from It’s Seasoned, Black Farmer Box, and Moors Brewing Co. present their business ideas to judges with mentorship from Melissa Butler. Watch here!
In an exclusive interview with REVOLT, Machel Montano dove into his musical journey, childhood stardom, and an exciting new chapter in business.