Years ago, Magic Johnson had the opportunity to become a billionaire, but early in his NBA career, he turned down a lucrative offer that was actually a disguised offer. The legendary basketball player recently confessed that he is still furious with himself for foolishly pursuing quick money when he had no concept of the long money game.
Johnson appeared on the "All The Smoke" podcast on Saturday (Jan. 14), and in a video that was shared on social media, he talked about his career both on and off the court. Johnson shot to fame after the Los Angeles Lakers selected him in the 1979 NBA Draft. The 6' 9" basketball star helped usher in the team's "Showtime Era" alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott, and others. Additionally, he did something no one else has ever done: he helped them win the NBA Championship in his rookie season. He was immediately in demand, and businesses flocked to him in an effort to sponsor him as an athlete.
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee recalled, "Here I am just winning a national championship against Larry Bird, and three companies came in—Converse, Adidas, and Nike." The three-time NBA MVP went on to say that Nike was only a few years old. Converse consequently made me the highest offer. As a result, you take the money when you're poor.
The business tycoon previously disclosed that Converse offered him $100,000 for each year of his contract. However, he would not receive any cash up front as a result of Nike's offer. He recalled that Phil Knight, a co-founder of Nike, entered the room and said, "Hey, I can't offer you the same type of money, but I can offer you stock." According to Cassius, Nike was prepared to give him $1 for each pair of shoes sold as well as 100,000 shares of the company's stock. One share was worth about $0.18 back then, which is nothing in comparison to its current value of $128.85.
Johnson sighed in frustration, his hands on his head, and gritted his teeth. The retired legend remarked, "I wasn't [trying to hear that] and I didn't know nothin' about it. "My family was not well off. When you don't come from money, that is one thing that can hurt you. I didn't even know what stocks were back then. I avoided the stocks as a result. Can you imagine what that stock would have been worth today in 45 years, $5 billion," he continued.
He made light of the choice while on a promotional tour for his Apple TV docuseries, "They Call Me Magic," last year. "Every time I consider that, it kills me. The wealthy businessman remarked, "Man, Michael Jordan would have been making me so much money. Johnson has still amassed a fortune through his various endeavors and has continued to be a prominent figure in the sports world, despite possibly missing out on a ton of money.