Magic Johnson Graces Cover of Variety

Magic Johnson Graces Cover of Variety

Introducing The NBA Legend and Variety's Cover Star, Magic Johnson

After Johnson joined the Lakers as a point guard, he led the team to five NBA championships and quickly became the highest-paid player in sports — in 1981, he signed an eye-popping 25-year contract for $25 million. And he leveraged his fame as a basketball superstar to become a mogul. Johnson says he lives in Hollywood — he resides in Beverly Hills with his wife, Cookie — but that he’s never wanted to “become Hollywood.” Nevertheless, he counts movie stars such as Samuel L. Jackson as his friends, has produced a handful of films, hosted a short-lived late-night talk show in 1998 and has established a model, followed by everyone from Shaquille O’Neal to LeBron James, for acquiring power in sports and then translating that to entertainment and business.

“First of all, you can’t do a story about the Lakers without the Lakers. The real Lakers. You gotta have the guys. There’s no way to duplicate Showtime. I don’t care who you get.”

— Magic Johnson

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