Magic Johnson becomes fourth U.S. athlete to reach billionaire status, according to Forbes


Forbes’ latest report has shown a light over how athletes have grown as entrepreneurs, considering how the sport’s industry has learned to develop commercially in modern times. According to the prestigious magazine, Magic Johnson is officially a billionaire and became only the fourth U.S. athlete to ever achieve this mark, joining Tiger Woods and fellow basketball players LeBron James and Michael Jordan.

The Lakers icon’s net worth is now estimated to be $1.2 billion, as he’s kept investing in sport clubs across the United States ever since he retired from his basketball career. During his team on the court, Magic won five NBA championships, was selected 12-times to the All-Star games, and was the league’s assist leader four times and steals leader twice.

Forbes reports he only made $40 million from his time in the NBA, and earned most of his money as a savvy business man after retirement. However, he recently admitted that he had an opportunity to become a billionaire a long time ago, when Converse, Adidas and Nike approached him with shoe deal offers early in his career.

“My family didn’t come from money, that’s one thing that hurt us [sometimes]. When you don’t come from money, you don’t know. I didn’t even know what stocks [were] at that time,” Magic shared on the All the Smoke podcast at the start of the year. “So I passed on the stocks. Can you imagine? 45 years, $5 billion that stock would have been worth today.”

Johnson has ownership stakes in the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, MLS’ LAFC, NFL’s Commanders, and some non-sport investments like Burger King, StarBucks and 24 Hour Fitness.

According to the former athlete, his love for the Lakers has made him ditch many opportunities of owning other NBA franchises, but if he had to chose one, he’d go for the Knicks. “I think it would be intriguing,” he said last month. “The only team I would actually probably think about is the New York Knicks.”

When asked, the Hall of Famer mentioned the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, and Golden State Warriors as some of the teams he’s passed on the opportunity of owning, as he doesn’t want to be in a position in which he’s competing against the Lakers.

“I think because of the way fans love basketball you might have to think about that one, because I love coming to New York and going to the Garden and watching the Knicks play,” he told the press in September. “I love being with fans who are so passionate about their team and the Knick fans are, and they’re smart. They’re smart basketball fans and so that one I would have to think about. I think that other than that, I would probably never think about ever being a part of another franchise.”

Forbes also placed the Warriors as the current-most valuable NBA franchise, with the Lakers and Knicks following close behind

It seems that Golden State‘s four NBA titles in the past decade have maintained the franchise as the most valuable team in the league at $7.7 billion, showing an increase of 10% from a year ago.

The Warriors generated 48% more revenue that any other NBA franchise, reaching a total of $765 million during the 2022/23 campaign, in net of arena debt service and revenue sharing. The New York Knicks follow closely behind with $6.6 billion and the Los Angeles Lakers completes the list with $6.4 billion, as the only other team worth more than $6 billion.

Take a look at the video above to see the complete list according to Forbes, which provides an estimate of the value of the 30 NBA franchises.

“The consensus from media experts and sports bankers is that by bringing in new distributors such as Apple, YouTube TV and Amazon Prime, and bundling its international rights, the NBA will more than double the value of its current media rights,” the report explains.