Magic Johnson once had the chance to become a billionaire after realizing he had lost $5 billion worth of stocks, but he declined a lucrative offer that was really a disguised offer when he was just starting out in the NBA.
The renowned basketball player recently admitted that he is still angry with himself for pursuing quick money foolishly and realizing that he lost $5 billion worth of stocks because he didn’t understand the long money game.
Johnson discussed his career both on and off the court in a video that was posted to social media after his Saturday (Jan. 14) appearance on the “All The Smoke” podcast. Johnson became famous after the Los Angeles Lakers selected him in the 1979 NBA Draft. The 6′ 9″ basketball star helped the team win an NBA Championship in his rookie season, which is a feat that has only been accomplished by him. He did this alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott, and other notable players to usher in the team’s “Showtime Era.” Businesses flocked to him in an effort to sponsor him as an athlete because he was so in demand right away.
The three-time NBA MVP also mentioned that Nike was only a few years old when he said, “Here I am just winning a national championship against Larry Bird, and three companies came in—Converse, Adidas, and Nike.” As a result, Converse offered me the most money. You accept the money as a result when you are in need.
Converse offered him $100,000 per year, but Nike offered him stock instead. Nike offered him $1 for every pair of shoes sold and 100,000 shares of the company’s stock, worth $0.18 at the time.
Johnson, a retired legend, explains that he passed on stocks due to his family’s lack of money. He reflects on the $5 billion worth of stocks after 45 years.
While on a promotional tour for his Apple TV docuseries, “They Call Me Magic,” last year, he made light of the decision. The rich businessman said, “Man, Michael Jordan would have made me so much money. Every time I think about that, it kills me. Despite potentially losing out on billions worth of stocks, Johnson has still amassed a fortune through his various business ventures and has remained a significant figure in the sports world.
Without realizing that the Nike’s offer could have been billions worth of stocks today, Johnson chose the cash, which made sense given his background and needs in terms of money. Later, he acknowledged that he was ignorant of stocks at the time. Even though he lost billions worth of stocks out on a fortune, he still chose wisely based on the information at hand.
Converse’s success was greatly aided by Magic Johnson; however, if he had chosen Nike instead of Converse, the situation would have been very different. Converse filed for bankruptcy in 2003, but Nike won the longer race and even acquired Converse for only $315 million.