After two years of holding the country’s most prestigious and one of the most sought-after thought leadership events in the Asia-Pacific Region virtually, PLDT Enterprise held the Philippine Digital Convention (PH Digicon) last October 27-28, 2022, face-to-face at the Marriott Grand Ballroom with a simultaneous broadcast online.
Highlighting the 2-day convention was the live interview with the legendary basketball icon Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson who strongly relates to the PH Digicon 2022 theme of BOUNDLESS. Hosted by PLDT Group Corporate Communications Head, Cathy Yap-Yang, Johnson fondly shares, “When I think about Boundless, I think that’s Magic Johnson!”
In 1991, Johnson officially retired from his basketball career following the announcement of his diagnosis with HIV. In the same year, he founded the Magic Johnson Foundation, one of the most recognizable philanthropic organizations around the world today, which serves as a single-disease organization that works to raise funds for community-based organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs.
Looking back, Johnson recalls the stigma and discrimination that used to rule the disease and how people talked in “hushed voices”. Now, people can openly talk about and discuss HIV/AIDS–all in the name of raising awareness of the disease.
Johnson’s ‘retirement’ didn’t hold him back to do what he loves most when he came back to play in the 1992 All-Star Game and won the All-Star MVP Award. He was also a part of the ‘Dream Team’ that won the Olympic gold medal in Barcelona during the 1992 Olympics.
“When I look at our team and our achievements, we changed the world when it comes to the NBA and when it came to basketball,” he says. “What we were able to accomplish in Barcelona, the way that the world accepted us, we’ve never seen anything like it. We won the gold medal, but we changed the game of basketball around the world forever. And I am happy to be part of that.”
Raising the next generation of entrepreneurs
Johnson is also the founder and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, a global empire with a wide range of business endeavors that range from sports ownership, food service, to media and entertainment. He may have come a long way from bringing coffee shops and cinemas into Urban America, but he remains committed to his mission of creating jobs and opportunities for minorities and women-owned firms. When asked about retirement, the NBA Hall of Famer laughingly replied, “I am not built to slow down. I am a worker; I love to work, [and I bring] passion to my job every day.”
To prepare the next generation of dreamers and entrepreneurs, the NBA Hall of Famer, businessman, and philanthropist advised them about having a positive attitude despite setbacks, the importance of believing in one’s self, and having mentors–a role that he continues to play for many businesses, athletes, and his fans.
“My life is boundless. When I think of my journey, that’s the word I would use. I did everything that was not supposed to be done. When I think about boundless, I think that’s Magic Johnson! I was the first to go through a lot of doors, a man of color. Trust me, you can do it. Everybody out there, you can do it, you can have it, you can go do it, it’s all up to you.”
30 years later, after countless successful ventures, he shared, “Today, Magic’s court is the business world.”