The Magic Johnson still up to his tricks
Sports & Entertainment impresarios Andre’ Cleveland Entertainment (ACE) Network recently persuaded five-time NBA World Champion Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson to partner with David Arquette’s XTR Productions to co-produce a full-length documentary based on Magic’s extraordinary life on and off the basketball courts.
The Los Angeles Lakers selected Johnson first overall in the 1979 National Basketball Association draft. In 1980, The Magic Man won Rookie of Year, an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award and his first NBA Championship ring with his beloved Lakers. He helped drive the Lakers to four more championships in the 1980s.
Magic, affectionately known as Buck to his friends, was the charismatic leader of the Dream Team, the United States’ representatives to the Barcelona 1992 Olympics. The team, which included Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley, essentially put basketball on the Olympic map, thanks to a series of scintillating displays.
On Nov. 7, 1991, Johnson boldly announced he had contacted HIV and would be retiring from the league effective immediately. On Jan. 30, 1996, he returned to regular season action with a classic display of his all-around skills, ending a four-year retirement following his positive HIV test.
It would be his last year of professional basketball. Johnson retired from the Nation Basketball Association in 1996 at the age of 37.
Off the court, Magic married his college sweetheart Earletha ‘Cookie’ Kelly in 1991. They have three children Andre’, Magic’s son from a previous relationship, Elisa, an adopted daughter, and their biological son, Earvin ‘EJ’ Johnson, III.
EJ came out as gay to his family at the age of 17 and came out publicly in 2013 after a report by TMZ published pictures of him holding hands with a male friend. He was supported by his family in his decision to come out publicly.
“When my son came out I was so happy for him and happy for us as parents,” Johnson said. “We love him. EJ is amazing.”
In 2015, Magic Johnson Enterprises became the controlling shareholder of EquiTrust Life Insurance. In 2016, EquiTrust surpassed $17 Billion in assets and received Ward’s Top 50 Performing Insurance Companies recognition. In 2020, Magic Johnson announced EquiTrust will partner with MBE Capital Partners to loan $100 million to minority women business owners through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
“By any other man’s life span expectancy, he should be dead,” said Andre’ Cleveland, “but Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is very much alive and well and our global communities are the benefactors of his legacy.”
The documentary will explore Magic’s ownerships in a variety of enterprises, including the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Sparks and the Los Angeles Football Club. He has also seen success in areas outside sports, including Starbuck franchises, Magic Johnson Theaters, Founder’s National Bank, TGIF franchise and Equitrust Life Insurance.
A Mid-Summer’s Night Magic Weekend Festivals, the basketball-themed fundraiser for the Johnson Foundation, brings together athletes, entertainment professionals and academics to raise funds for the Taylor Michael Scholarship program, which helps minority students with college costs.
The documentary will also include interviews with an eclectic group of influencers such as Michael Ovitz, founder of Creative Artists Agency, Marvin Mann, founder of Mann Theaters and Chairman/CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz, all who help guide his path of success.
“This documentary is a love letter to a beautiful human being,” said David Arquette.
The feature is slated to be a world-wide theatrical release, especially in U.S. urban communities.