By DAN ECKLES, Nevada Realtors Communications
(Reprinted with Permission.)
SAN FRANCISCO - The National Association of REALTORS® never disappoints when it comes to
boasting a big name for its General Session during its annual conference earlier this month. NBA Hall of Famer and business mogul Magic Johnson was the guest speaker for the event this year. More than 6,000 REALTORS® took in the event as Johnson shared stories and insights from his professional and personal life.
The crowd was also introduced to NAR’s five Good Neighbor award winners as well as each state’s REALTOR® of the Year, a parade of real estate talent.
Motion picture star Mark Wahlberg was a hit when he spoke at General session during NAR annual in Boston a year ago and Magic was without a doubt the star of the show Saturday afternoon (Nov. 9) at the Moscone West Convention Center. Johnson is acutely aware of real estate and its impacts on his various business ventures.
“Real estate jump-started my (business) career,” Johnson said. “We went into housing and in Urban America there is a shortage in housing. At that time, we went into condos. We had great success. Even when the market crashed and people couldn’t get loans, we went to a renters’ model. What we really did well was mixed use, housing on top with retail on the bottom. That really worked out well for us. We did a great job and had 50 properties in our portfolio across the country. We sold all of them and got into sports franchises.” Johnson invested in his old team, the NBA’s Lakers. He also became a part owner with the group that purchased and now owns the LA Dodgers. Additionally, he has part ownership in southern California’s new MLS team, LAFC.
“The first thing I told our owners when we bought the Dodgers was, if we want to bring the fans back, we have to lower the parking prices,” Johnson said. “Now why did I tell you that? You have to know what really is important to those you’re serving in the city you work in. Everyone works in different markets and there are different challenges in those markets.”
Magic stressed that business success is all about knowing your customer and over-delivering to your customer base. The basketball player turned business tycoon added that when getting into a new venture, it’s important to under- stand the circumstances of the past that have led to current conditions.
So many times what has happened in the past is still affecting us in the present,” Johnson said. “I went to banks and said let’s help somebody qualify for a home, and this is really important. We want them to not only qualify but to keep the home. Take a little time and educate people. The more people who get into homes, the better communities we have. Help people get into a beautiful home and then show them how to keep it. That would be a blessing … It’s a blessing to own a home. You talk about the American dream, that’s it right there.”
Johnson, a 12-time NBA all-star and 3-time MVP, said one of his career highlights was being a member of the 1992 Olympic USA men’s basketball team, also known as the Dream Team. He said, like in business, team members must learn and accept roles. If that’s done, success often follows.
For us, like anybody, it took awhile to come together and work with each other. The Dream Team had a lot of egos and a lot of big egos,” Johnson said. “That team was so awesome. I thank God for letting me play with men of such high character … You learn so much about life playing sports. Playing basketball gave me principals and made me competitive. I love helping people out, putting people to work. Our businesses put about 30-to-40 thousand people to work a day. I want them to take care of their families. That’s what life is about."
Thank you to Dan Eckles of the Nevada Realtors Communications Department for allowing us to share this article with you.