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Earvin Johnson Has Found Magic On The Basketball Court And The Business World

Jeff Thurn ESPN 99.1

Over the last few weeks, every time someone mentions Earvin Magic Johnson, I immediately find myself thinking about the Donald Sterling controversy instead of the great things Magic did as a player or now as a business man.

However, this past weekend in Chicago, the opposite occurred.

I got the opportunity to hear Magic speak at the NRA Show in Chicago.  (National Restaurant Association Show, not the gun show.)

He spoke for 50 minutes, which the first part we missed because of the large line to get in, but I read later that he opened up the speech by making a bit of a joke about the whole Sterling fiasco then turned strait to his message.

That message was one of encouragement, insight, advice and stories.

The encouragement part was excellent for those needing a extra push during the hard times.  Magic just didn’t wake up one day with his estimated $500 million dollar net worth.  He worked as hard as anyone to make himself what he and his brand is today.

The insight aspect gave us a small glimpse into the behind the scenes of what it was and is like to be Magic Johnson.

His advice about his failures and accomplishments gave all of us a I think bit of perspective on what it takes.  It is not always going to be easy nor are we always going to succeed and in fact, the failures make us who we are today, regardless if we want to believe it in the moment or not.

And finally, the stories.  Nothing is better in my opinion than the stories of great athletes, entrepreneurs and leaders.  And with Magic on the mic, we got all three at one time.  The one story that I took away the most from in regards to business was the story about family.  And how a woman lost her guaranteed $3 million dollar check a year by missing the signing of a lease on the property that was making her all that money.   She was family of the owners.  The message from Magic, “don’t hire family unless they are a expert in the field.”

I wish more athletes and business owners would listen on that point.  It can cause upheaval in the family and cost you a lot of money in the process.  Do what Magic does, “pay them to stay away”.

Even though it was only for a short time and it wasn’t one on one, I still was able to gain a lot from having the opportunity to listen to a living legend on Sunday at the NRA Show.  Furthermore, moving forward, I sure hope that I can work some of the wisdom I this weekend into my radio show and future business endeavors.


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