Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
5 NBA championships, 12-time NBA all-star, #1 ranked point guard of all time, 2-time inductee into the basketball hall of fame, and Olympic gold medalist as part of the dream team.
He was public about HIV at a time when that was unacceptable, and has overcome prejudice and racism without bitterness and with his trademark, beautiful smile.
Today, Earvin’s court is the business world, and he is heroically changing lives as the founder of Magic Johnson Enterprises. Applying what he learned on the basketball court each and every day in business. Empowering communities. Speaking for those who don’t have a voice―because that makes your legacy strong.
Therese had the privilege of interviewing him this morning, and began with this: “When I look at Magic Johnson, I see something rare. I see a man of wisdom. And when you get an opportunity to interview a man of wisdom, you don’t ask him about his best sports moments―you ask him the things that are top of mind, interesting and relevant today.”
First up? The keys to a good marriage. And after 40 years of marriage, these are five things to take to heart:
Don’t try to change your partner – accept their flaws
Go on the journey together
Support your partner’s dreams
Never go to bed angry: discuss it and then it ends
Therese and Earvin both understand the power of giving back, which is apparent in this comment from Therese, “Nothing can engineer gratitude better than spending a day with people who have nothing.”
This was at the core of Earvin’s business drive when he began, and it’s still at the heart today. He says, “I wanted to go back into the community I grew up in and hire those people so they can be successful and become our brand ambassadors. They are loyal to our brand, and that’s what you get in urban America.”
Politics today is so ugly and uncivil, but Therese also sees it as a way to give back. She asked Earvin, “How do you give well?” He gave these three steps as his response:
We don’t just write the check, we get involved.
We vet you well – what are you doing and is the money going to the people?
We partner with you to make sure we’re affecting change
Earvin’s admiration for Therese was apparent throughout the session, and he concluded with this inspiring message:
“Here you have two people who the odds were against, but we didn’t care. Everyone said, ‘no way you can do it’ but we didn’t care that people said no because we were going to prove them wrong. We knew what we wanted, that our business strategy was sound. All we needed to do was execute and get one person to believe in what we were selling.
You can be successful. Believe in yourself. Believe in your business strategy. Go out and execute and stand for best in class.”