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Earvin 'Magic' Johnson to speak at VIA event

Former NBA player to appear at B2B show in 2012

Posted: August 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 17, 2011 1:57 a.m.
 

Earvin “Magic” Johnson is the scheduled keynote luncheon speaker for the Valley Industry Association’s 2012 Business-to-Business Industry show, the organization announced Tuesday.

Known for his talent on the basketball court, the Hall of Famer, three-time MVP and five-time NBA champion is also a long-time entrepreneur, philanthropist, motivational speaker and business mogul.

“After working its magic for more than 30 years in the Santa Clarita Valley, it’s only fitting that we match VIA’s magic with an American icon,” said DeLynne Ano, chairwoman of VIA’s B2B committee and president of SCAPE Inc.

VIA’s magic
“I am so excited we can bring (Johnson’s) story of building a successful business in his community to Santa Clarita,” Ano said.

“His message aligns so perfectly with VIA’s mission of connecting and building SCV industry.”

Johnson has successfully parlayed his skills and tenacity on the court into the business world, said a VIA spokesperson.

“A lot of people were shooting down my dreams, but it only made me work harder,” Johnson said in a film clip VIA members watched after the announcement was made.

Business empire
Johnson formed a partnership with Tim Lieweke of AEG in an effort to build a new stadium and bring an NFL team back to Los Angeles.

Magic Johnson Enterprises, founded by Johnson in 1987, focused on revitalizing ethnically diverse and underserved urban communities through strategic alliances, investments, consulting and endorsements.

The company is composed of many business entities and partnerships, including three capital management funds, with more than $4 billion in developed real estate and $2 billion in committed capital.

Business enterprises include: SodexoMAGIC; Magic Airport Holdings; 24 Hour Fitness Magic Johnson Signature Clubs; T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant; Best Buy; and the recently acquired Vibe Holdings LLC.

VIA B2B show
The annual B2B event is Santa Clarita’s largest business-to-business industry show.

VIA moved the event up on the calendar to March 1, and to the Hyatt Regency Valencia, in order to draw larger attendance and feature local businesses in a professional setting, a spokesperson said.

Bayless Engineering & Manufacturing of Valencia and RL Environmental Inc. of Bakersfield are the 2012 event’s luncheon sponsors.

Community focus
Johnson also has a legacy off the court and outside of the business world.

He successfully partnered with Starbucks to serve as a catalyst for redevelopment in urban communities. In 2010, Johnson sold both his Starbucks and Los Angeles Lakers shares for more than $100 million. He continues, however, to work with Starbucks on community-development projects, and remains vice president of the Lakers.

Perhaps Johnson’s most important work has been with the Magic Johnson Foundation, dedicated to HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs, of which he continues to serve as chairman and founder.

The charitable organization, now approaching its 20th anniversary, also sponsors Community Empowerment Centers and the Taylor Michaels Scholarship program.

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