NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his entrepreneurial drive has become the stuff of legend. With his Magic Johnson Enterprises company continuing to flourish to the tune of about $700 million, the former hoops star has once again joined the ranks of sports team owners. Johnson, along with business associates Guggenheim Partners, has successfully won a bid to buy Major League Baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers for a whopping $2 billion, shattering a sports franchise purchase record in the process.
This isn’t Magic’s first foray into team ownership, as Johnson was a one-time minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers squad he once helmed as a floor general. Along with former Washington Nationals team president Stan Kasten and current Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber, Johnson and his team landed the troubled Dodgers franchise with the record-breaking bid. The previous record holder for a sports franchise purchase was Steve Ross taking ownership of NFL team Miami Dolphins for $1 billion.
The team purchase bid was part of an auction led by New York investment firm Blackstone LP, this after previous owner Frank McCourt filed for bankruptcy last June amid struggles with the team and MLB commissioner Bud Selig. The new Johnson-led partnership are not officially in direct ownership of the storied franchise just yet, as McCourt still has to approve the deal by April 30. The Wall Street Journal reports that he owes his wife $131 million in a divorce settlement the next day.
Johnson issued a statement regarding the sale, promising a turnaround for the beleaguered franchise. “I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles.”
Just don’t try to coach, Magic. Congratulations.
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