Team Frugal: Magic Johnson

Being frugal is about more than being stingy with your money. It means being prudent, smart and economical with your finances and career decisions. Every Tuesday, we share profiles of athletes that exemplify what it means to be A Frugal Athlete.

Magic Johnson is this week's #TeamFrugalTuesdays pick. 

Known as the man who brought showtime to LA, Magic Johnson is more than just a basketball player, he is also a savvy businessman.

Magic is not only one of the greatest basketball players of all time but one of the best sports business executives there is. He is a great example of a player who didn’t just rest on his laurels or solely use his stardom for endorsements. He took advantage of his status and sought out mentors to learn from, and built an empire behind his name and brand. 

Jerry Buss, the late owner of the LA Lakers, made Magic Johnson the third million-dollar player in the NBA when he signed him in 1984 with a 25-year, $25 million dollar deal. In fact, Johnson credits Dr. Buss and his father as two most influential figures that helped him understand the business side of things. 

Magic Johnson was able to use his relationship with Jerry Buss and ask specific questions about how things work as you get higher up the business ladder. Dr. Buss had a high business acumen and Johnson made sure to learn from someone that experienced in the things he wanted to eventually accomplish down the road. 

Johnson is the CEO of the conglomerate Magic Johnson Enterprises which he started towards the end of his playing career in 1987. It is known that Johnson has his hands in many pots. Some might say he is a jack of all trades, master of none but I beg to differ. His ability to connect on different fronts, whether it is sports business, urban redevelopment or tech has allowed his company to be valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. For some, that may be tiresome or risky, but because of Johnson’s business prowess, he has proven to be successful in many different agendas. His portfolio includes ownership stakes in the Dodgers and LAFC just to name a few. His net worth is estimated at around 500 million which is a lot more than he ever made playing basketball. 

Not every athlete is going to have the ability play or talk like Magic Showtime Johnson but every athlete can find a mentor that can show them the ropes off and on the court. That is the reason why I highlighted Magic Johnson. Someone of his caliber never needed to worry about career earnings, but in order to take it to the next level long-term, he knew why it is important to learn from the best. At the end of the day, owners are the ones paying the players, which makes them the real ballers if you think about it. Johnson took advantage of his network and relationships to learn the trade and create his own conglomerate. He currently serves as President of Basketball operations for his beloved team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and continues to expand his portfolio and learn from other like minded individuals.