The remarkable life of NBA Icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson is explored in the new AppleTV+ docuseries, “They Call Me Magic.”
The series follows Johnson’s origins as the face of the Los Angeles Lakers, cementing himself as an all-time NBA legend, changing the conversation around HIV, and transforming into a successful entrepreneur and community activist. It walks viewers through the Hall of Famer’s humble beginnings in Lansing, Michigan, to becoming the global force he is today. It also looks at his time with the Lakers, his on and off love affair with wife Earletha “Cookie” Johnson, and a look at the behind-the-scenes of his HIV diagnosis and his relationship with his family and children.
The docuseries also digs into Magic’s post-career life and business. One of his primary goals was to educate and empower Black communities. EUR correspondent Jill Munroe talked with Johnson about his early investment in Black women within his company and why it was vital for him to make that choice.
“Black women are smart, they are hard workers, really they just take care of their business,” explained Johnson. “I was looking for smart people who could grow my brand and the bottom line. It just happened that those were Black, powerful, smart women. We had great working relationships and our vision aligned for the company. I’m glad I did it because I wouldn’t be where I am today without those women who have paved the way for other Black women to come behind them and do what they are doing today. There have been so many that have impacted my company, my brand, and the community positively.”
Magic’s current COO, Kawanna Brown, and President, Christina Francis, are Black women.
Johnson said his goal to help Black communities obtain economic advancement and help in general is why he was put on this earth.
“One thing the Black community has struggled with is helping someone else achieve their hopes and dreams. Once we have made it, a lot of times, we didn’t all reach back to help someone else make it.” Johnson continued, “I didn’t want to be one of those people. I wanted to reach back and give back. So, whether it’s athletes or people in the community doing great things, whoever needs help, I’m going to help them because that’s what I was put on this earth to do. God has blessed me, he put me in this position, and I want to continue to help the Black and brown community continue to be better, to help educate our children and send them to college.”
The four-part series includes never before seen footage and intimate interviews with an all-star lineup: Magic’s family, Pat Riley, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Presidents Bill Clinton and Barak Obama, Charles Barkley, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and more.
All four episodes of “They Call Me Magic” will be available on AppleTV+ April 22.