Sugar Dad Success Story: The Challenge of Securing Magic Johnson’s Endorsement for Her Daughter’s Business

Billionaire basketball great Earvin “Magic” Johnson has spent decades building and owning physical stores. At this week’s National Retail Federation convention in Manhattan’s Javits Center, he shared with attendees how he used that experience to evaluate a business proposal from his daughter, who had just graduated—even though she wasn’t immediately grateful.


Initially, the businessman collaborated with Sony Pictures to build Magic Johnson Theatres. Subsequently, he allegedly became a franchisee for Starbucks before selling the company. Upon graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, his daughter, who is in her twenties, approached him and asked for financial support so that she might launch an online eyewear company. He claimed to have listened intently.


“Then I asked, ‘Where is the business plan?’” … I declined. Until you present a business strategy, I will not do it,” Johnson told NRF conference goers. “She started crying, and ran to my wife.”


In the end, his daughter did what he wanted and came up with a business plan, but it “didn’t have the numbers,” so Johnson had her start over. According to Johnson, the updated plan “hit it out of the park,” and he even gave her the money to start her firm. “She’s doing pretty good, making some money”—he informed the assembled retail business members—about her online designer eyeglasses sales.

An investment conglomerate that comprises 24-Hour Fitness facilities, several dozen Burger Kings, movie theaters, malls, and a Los Angeles outlet in the TGI Friday’s chain is Magic Johnson Enterprises, of which the professional basketball Hall of Famer now serves as chairman and chief executive officer. The company is situated in Los Angeles.

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