Magic Johnson brings excitement and wise words to Howard University hospital


magic-johnsonWith hundreds of people screaming his name, applauding and rushing his 6’9” frame, multi-millionaire entrepreneur and NBA Hall-of-Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson greeted every anxious hand, every request for a photo and plea for an autograph with a firm shake and humble smile Thursday as he visited Howard University Hospital.

“When I come back to D.C. and I come on the Howard University campus, it’s always a great experience for me,” Johnson said as he stood among a crowd of fans in the hospital cafeteria. “To see so many people here says that everyone is doing an excellent job here at the hospital.”

The former Los Angeles Lakers star came to speak with the Howard University School of Business students, hospital staff and the local community about his transformation from basketball to business and how he has lived with HIV for the past 22 years during a session in the hospital auditorium, Afro.com reported.

Johnson’s visit also included a tour of his Magic Johnson Championship Sub Connection restaurant located in the Howard University Hospital Cafeteria where a large crowd of hospital staff and students waited for him in a chaotic frenzy.

Johnson’s career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations.

He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA’s all-time leader in average assists per game, at 11.2.

He played in 906 NBA games, holding career averages of 19.5 ppg, 11.2 apg and 7.2 rpg in 36.7 minutes per game.

Johnson was a member of the “Dream Team”, the U.S. basketball team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1992. He also is a 5-time NBA Champion.

Johnson was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, and enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He was rated the greatest NBA point guard of all time by ESPN in 2007.

Johnson currently owns movie theaters and radio stations in major cities from New York to Phoenix and is the majority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, making him the first African-American majority owner of a major league baseball franchise.

He created a national contract food service with Sodexo USA called Sodexo-Magic in 2006, of which two of those properties are at Howard University. His many business ventures employ over 45,000 people, he said.

Johnson had lots to share with the over 200 students and staff members crowded into the hospital auditorium.

He entertained the crowd with jokes and laughter between giving advise to those looking to become entrepreneurs.

“I had to find out what I wanted to do with the money I earned and saved,” Johnson said. “I wanted to invest my money so I wanted to make sure I started a business I could build and that was in demand.”

As he walked around the auditorium, he answered several questions about overcoming business obstacles and he talked about handling his HIV-positive status.

“People are only going to treat you how you treat yourself,” he said. “Twenty-two years for me and my walk hasn’t changed. I’m still walking, head up, happy guy. I had to educate people on the fly and at the same time I had to educate myself on the fly about this disease. I’m cool with my status and I take my meds, that’s it.”

Following his time at Howard, Johnson was scheduled to visit President Barack Obama to discuss funding and government advocacy for HIV and AIDs.

“President Obama has done a wonderful job when it comes to addressing HIV and AIDS and bringing it to the forefront and providing funding for it as well,” Johnson said.

“I think that what we want from our great president is for him to look at the HIV and AIDs crisis and the programs and just give us funding so that we can care from people around the United States.”

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