Sports have always been a part of Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s life, from running the Showtime era for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s, to becoming an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. This man has become a beloved figure in the city of Los Angeles and has always done it with a smile on his face.
Many fans might think that Johnson’s love for baseball stemmed from his decision to become a involved with the Guggenheim ownership group, however the Michigan native has deep roots in his passion for baseball.
In an interview with Terrence Moore of MLB.com, Johnson quickly downplayed the notion of his love for baseball coming in recent years:
No, I’ve been in love with baseball for a long time, and I’ve watched every World Series that I can remember — and this was even before I joined the Dodgers.
Johnson traced his affection for baseball back to his days as a child when he was exposed to the Detroit Tigers:
Like I said, I’ve always loved baseball, and I’ve been a huge baseball fan since I was a kid in Lansing. That was back when the Boys & Girls Club used to take us to the Detroit Tigers games. And our two heroes back then were Gates Brown and Willie Horton.”
In 1979, Johnson was drafted first overall and was seen as the prominent future of the Lakers’ franchise. After arriving in Los Angeles, Johnson had the distinct honor of meeting former manager Tommy Lasorda:
When I first came to L.A. after I joined the Lakers, the second person I met was Tommy Lasorda, and it was a thrill, because of who he was to the game of baseball. He invited me to a Dodgers game. He gave me a cap, a jacket and he told me about L.A. So I owe a lot to Tommy.”
Johnson’s affinity for baseball is so deep he plays the game despite a failed attempt when he was younger:
Even right now, I love baseball so much that I still play softball. I’m telling you that baseball is a great game, and I’ve always felt that way… I was about 10 or 11 years old, and my career as a baseball player lasted one day. The ball came toward me so fast while I was in the batter’s box that I was getting out of there. Before long, it was strike one, strike, two, strike three. The coach called me over and said, ‘Son, I don’t think this game is for you.’ And I said, ‘I don’t think so, either.'”
The two-time All-Star game MVP has also shifted some of his focus to being an entrepreneur. On top of his participation in the $2 billion purchase of the Dodgers, Johnson has used his business background to successfully invest in movie theaters, restaurants, and production companies, among other business ventures.
Suffice to say that when Guggenheim Baseball Management purchased the Dodgers, they fulfilled their promise in making the Dodgers a contender for the future. The Dodgers won the NL West in their first full season under the group and are making a push to solidify themselves in the postseason for a second straight year.
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