MAGIC JOHNSON

Athletes find you a business mentor or coach!! Ever heard that saying “your network is your Networth?” Did you guys hear how Magic Johnson got put on? If you are an athlete, entertainer or just young business person do some research into Magic Johnson and a guy named Michael Ovitz. Michael also helped Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen start Andreessen Horowitz. And of course, he started CAA! (His crib in Beverly Hills is insane). I study these guys on the weekend. I remember mentors helping me transition from Wallstreet to private equity. Guys like N’Gai Merrill, Travis Gaylord, Otey Smith, and Robert Sirleaf all took me under their wing and helped me with the deals, analysis, and opportunities.

Attending the Hawks game last night had me researching Magic’s story. Check it out: “Michael Ovitz, who had made CAA into an entertainment colossus, had taken him under his wing while he was still a player, and now, with some time on his hands, Magic jumped in with both feet.” Few people may know the mentoring role Michael Ovitz played in Magic’s very successful business career.

Success Magazine wrote a great article on how Ovitz helped Magic enter the business world: “I learned a couple of great lessons there with Michael Ovitz,” Johnson says. “The first is that if you want to be successful, you have to be willing to use every connection you’ve got. It is a funny story how that meeting came about. During a Lakers game the season before, I was standing on the sidelines getting ready to pass the ball inbounds. There were two businessmen I respect, Peter Guber and Joe Smith—who were sitting there courtside and were huge fans. I looked over and asked, ‘How do I get into the business?’ It probably wasn’t the best place to ask, but they could tell I was honestly looking for help, so later they arranged for me to meet Michael Ovitz. “The second thing I learned is that if you want someone to be your mentor, you better be ready to listen and be humbled,” Johnson says. “Michael wasn’t sure about working with me because so many athletes think they can move right into business and never take anyone’s advice. I had to prove to him I was serious and that I would listen.”

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