Magic Johnson brings different kind of ‘Showtime’ to Pensacola

johnson-magic-2012-1-h-803x1024NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson spoke to several thousand people Monday afternoon at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium at Community Maritime Park.  Those attending the free event included children, community and business leaders.

Johnson began his address by applauding Art Rocker and the work of his advocacy organization “Operation People for Peace” in addressing the needs of underserved and underrepresented communities and urging individuals to join in the effort.

For the youth in the audience, Johnson stressed the importance of education. “Everything you want in life, you can have it. But, you got to get it through a good education,” Johnson says.  Johnson believes he’s living proof of the success that can be had, despite being from a poor family in Lansing, Michigan.

“No matter how poor you grow up, you don’t have to have poor dreams,” he says.  Johnson says he dreamed of playing in the NBA, and he had an incredible career as he won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.  But, he says he always had thoughts of becoming a businessman, using his money to invest in the same kinds of communities like the one he grew up in.  Johnson partnered with Sony to build Magic Johnson Theaters; opening the first of his chain theaters in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles in 1994. Later, he partnered with the owner of Starbucks to bring the coffee giant to urban America.

The entrepreneur encouraged young people to find a mentor in the community to idolize, like he did.  Clearly, it has paid off for Johnson, who’s extremely proud of how far he’s come in the business world. “Who would have ever thought Magic Johnson would own the Dodgers,” Johnson proclaimed, adding that he and his partners also recently purchased the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.

The event was organized by Operation People for Peace, a local advocacy group run by civil rights figure Art Rocker, who now resides in the Florida Panhandle. During the speech, Johnson announced his foundation would donate $50,000 to the organization. 

 

Pensacola-based advocacy group Operation People for Peace brings Magic Johnson to Blue Wahoos stadium to spread his positive message about transforming lives and communities.

 

Johnson began his address by applauding Art Rocker and the work of his advocacy organization “Operation People for Peace” in addressing the needs of underserved and underrepresented communities and urging individuals to join in the effort.