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Forbes Declares NBA Legend Magic Johnson a Billionaire, Joining Elite Sports Stars Club

Magic Johnson, the legendary former NBA player, has become the fourth athlete ever to attain billionaire status, joining the ranks of fellow NBA greats Michael Jordan and LeBron James, as well as golfer Tiger Woods.

At 64 years old, the former Los Angeles Lakers guard is estimated to have a net worth of approximately $1.2 billion this year, according to various sources. Notably, during his 13-year career with the Lakers, he earned a mere $40 million, a stark contrast to LeBron's $480 million and Jordan's $94 million.

Magic's wealth has seen remarkable growth since his retirement in 1996, primarily due to his successful investments outside of basketball. His most significant asset is his 60 percent stake in an Iowa-based life insurance company called EquiTrust, which he acquired in 2015, generating substantial wealth over the years.

EquiTrust is the flagship asset in the Magic Johnson Enterprises portfolio. Under his leadership, the company's total assets have surged from $16 billion to $26 billion, with annual revenues reaching around $2.6 billion, according to Forbes. Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment and Magic's investment partner in various ventures, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, spoke highly of Johnson's business acumen, saying, "He was born with that special talent; he's had it since the beginning of his career."

Magic has been a prominent figure in the entertainment industry, with interests spanning movie theatres, fast food franchises, real estate, healthcare, and life insurance. He has a notable partnership with Starbucks, owning over 100 coffee shops in predominantly black neighbourhoods across major U.S. cities.

Additionally, Magic holds a minority stake in a PepsiCo bottling plant near Washington D.C. He also briefly owned a 4.5 percent stake in the Lakers, which he sold to healthcare billionaire Patrick Soon Shiong in 2010. Forbes estimates that his share would now be valued at $29 million, but if he had retained the stake, it would be worth over $265 million today, reflecting the increasing value of NBA teams.

Despite opportunities to invest in the Golden State Warriors in 2010, Johnson declined due to his loyalty to the Lakers. He is a partial owner of various other professional sports teams, including the WNBA's L.A. Sparks, MLS' LAFC, and, most recently, he partnered with Josh Harris to become a minority owner of the NFL's Washington Commanders this year.

As former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal aptly put it, "We all owe Magic" for his remarkable business achievements.


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