Magic offers a voice of inspiration

Magic Johnson speaks
"Magic" Johnson discussing his success at the Matadome Monday evening. Photo credit: Magaly Barajas

Associated Students Big Lecture brought us NBA Hall of Famer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson who spoke on the importance of hard work and dedication in his own career ventures and the importance of hard work in students’ lives and careers.

The Lansing, Michigan native was a fan favorite to where the tune of loud cheers rang throughout the Matadome as he came out.

“Magic is an NBA great, he really put the Lakers on a pedestal and he gave an inspirational talk that truly demonstrates the value of hard work,” said junior Jathzeel Olivares, a kinesiology major with emphasis in exercise science.

Magic spoke on how when he was in his rookie season and the Lakers had lost the league’s MVP, center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to injury in game five of the NBA Finals he took it upon himself to motivate the guys to regain focus against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Magic arrived at the airport and everybody’s heads were down and Magic asked “why?” A teammate answered that Kareem can’t play.

Magic showing off his own confident, overzealous nature told his teammate “So what? We’re going to win anyways.”

Magic continued his talk by saying that you have to have a mentality that you’re the best at whatever you do. Magic spoke on being the first man in and the last man out.

In his own business ventures such as Magic Theaters, Starbucks, being part-owner of the Lakers, then being part-owner of the Dodgers and even being a part of the new soccer club Los Angeles FC that will soon occupy a new stadium where the LA Sports Arena is currently located, Magic stressed the importance of understanding your customer early and often.

He used his first business failures to fuel his appetite for entrepreneurial success. He said it failed because he created a sports apparel store that featured clothing only he liked, but lacked what the consumer wanted.

In regards to his Starbucks venture, he had vision to bring Starbucks to the inner-city and change their identity by tossing out scones which wouldn’t resonate with his customers and instead replaced them with pound cake.

Prior to joining the Guggenheim group and putting an offer to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers, Magic told Dr. Jerry Buss, then Lakers owner, that he was going to have to sell his shares with the Lakers because the team’s value will never be as high as it was at the time.

Magic showed how through every walk-of-life he was able to make confident decisions that would positively help himself, his family and his community.

“I was waiting for this talk for weeks due to the inspiration Magic has been to both the inner-city and Los Angeles,” said junior Giselle Dominguez. “I love how he never stops giving back to the communities that idolize him.”