Magic will sell his share of the team to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a longtime season ticket owner and (obviously) a very wealthy man. In a statement, Magic says that this is not going to stop working with Jerry Buss and his clan, and that Soon-Shiong is "super Laker fan, an outstanding businessman, a dedicated philanthropist, and one of the most active community leaders in Los Angeles.
Magic stated that the decision was "bittersweet", and that he will always be a "Laker for life".
Magic Johnson has always been my favorite Laker, but this isn't his only business decision of the year that involves his name taking losses. In June of this year, it was announced the Magic Johnson Theaters on Crenshaw and Martin Luther King here in Los Angeles, would be closing for one year, and then re-opening as a newer, bigger movie theater in December 2011. This leaves only two Magic Johnson Theaters in the entire country still in operation, on in Washington D.C., and one in Harlem, N.Y.
I sincerely hope that this is just the typical up-and-down nature of business, and not indicative of any deeper financial woes Magic may be suffering.
As I type this, I'm sitting in my dentist's office across the street from the old Forum, the site where Magic created a majority of his legacy. The smiles, the no-look-behind-the-back-passes to James Worthy, and most importantly the five championships. All that happened literally about two hundred feet away from where my teeth will be getting cracked open and capped.
Time hasn't been kind to the city of Inglewood since the Lakers took their show downtown to the Staples Center. Magic's part ownership of the team, in my opinon, served as a slight reminder to Inglewood that the team still cared about the place it called home for around 30 years. Magic opened up businesses all throughout the old stomping ground; a Starbucks here, a Vons there. Countless one night stands can trace the origins of their hookup to Magic's TGI Fridays in the Ladera Center.
Magic didn't just care for the city and the people in it, he may have set himself back financially trying to support it.