When it comes to the NBA world, the name Johnson will continue to be one of the most memorable throughout history. Earvin Johnson, Jr., more popularly known as Magic Johnson, joined the Lakers when he was first drafted in 1979. He went on to play for the team for 13 years and attained major achievements in the 1980s. In 1991, Johnson retired abruptly after announcing that he contracted HIV. However, he returned in 1992 to play in the NBA All-Stars Game, where he received the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
Johnson then retired for another four years, but returned again in 1996 and played 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the final time. He was recognized as one of the greatest players in NBA history in 1996 and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and 2010.
While many may know Magic Johnson for his professional basketball career, he is also an active investor through his company Magic Johnson Enterprises. In fact, not many are aware of his ventures and some of his deals, including the acquisition of several Burger King and Starbucks franchises. Most of his investments focused on bringing development to blighted areas, and some of his biggest deals include 30 Burger King stores and 105 Starbucks licenses.
In 2004, Magic Johnson Enterprises bought 30 Burger King restaurants across Atlanta, Birmingham, Dallas, and Miami. According to Johnson, the objective was to create more employment opportunities in the four cities and promote minorities as managers. While the restaurants will feature memorabilia of the former NBA star, they will not bear his name.
Aside from this, Magic Johnson also owned 105 Starbucks stores but sold back all his interests in 2010. A day before this sale, he also sold his 4.5% interest stake in the Los Angeles Lakers. According to some sources, Johnson was possibly the only person to ever own a group of Starbucks stores. Starbucks operates differently from most other chain restaurants as they work more with corporate partners, and they call these licensed stores instead of franchises. As such, most, if not all the Starbucks stores are usually owned by the company itself.
Johnson has also been known to work with Starbucks on other occasions. He teamed up with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to bring cafes to the cities in the inner neighborhood. His initial pitch could not win the CEO over, so he changed his strategy by inviting Schultz to one of his movie theaters. That experience helped seal the deal, and in 1998, the first Urban Coffee Opportunities store was opened in California.
Beyond his popular basketball career, Johnson has also managed to build his enterprise into a billion-dollar conglomerate. It was founded in 1987, and after Johnson’s initial retirement in 1991, he was able to focus on growing his investments. His Burger King stores and former Starbucks stores are just a few of the many other lucrative investments that he has made through the years.