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I was so excited to hear that Earvin “Magic” Johnson was chosen to be the keynote speaker at the 2013 Car Wash Show™, which is taking place in Las Vegas in April. I don’t know that much about sports, but I do know about the former point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, my neighbors across the street were huge Celtics fans. I know of Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale and so on, and I know of the rivalry between Bird and Magic. I would like to think of those years as the glory years of basketball. Nowadays, the sport seems to be plagued by “reality television” clichés. From shows about basketball wives to the awfulness that is the Kardashian franchise, it seems as if the players are more celebrity, than athlete. When Magic Johnson played, the court was the stage and the games played out like a great Hollywood scripts.
When it was announced that Johnson was HIV positive, he was met with much adversity, also praise. Some players did not want to play with him in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, risking contamination, they claimed. And others, notably his biggest rival Larry Bird, offered their support. “The best feeling,” Magic told David Letterman during a Late Night show appearance with Bird in April 2012, “is when a friend supports you. He came to my side and supported me and I’ll never forget that.”
I’m not sure what Johnson will talk about during his keynote address. Last year, Mike Ditka was able to find a nice balance between football war stories and business advice. I hope Johnson talks a bit about how to overcome tough times and bad news.
Unless you’re extremely lucky, you’ve probably come across a few roadblocks or set-backs in your career. How do you, as a business person, handle such situations? Do you get mad? Do you feel sorry for yourself? Do you complain to anyone who will listen? Do you give up? Or, do you look at is as an opportunity? Do you vow to not let it stop you from succeeding? There are a million ways to handle misfortune, but there is really only one way to handle it successfully and turn it around, and that way is to never give up. Magic Johnson didn’t give up. In fact, at 53, he seems to be healthy and doing quite well for himself. In fact, I just read that his company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, is supposedly right now worth about $700 million; Not bad, not bad at all.
One quote I like from Johnson states, “If somebody says no to you, or if you get cut, Michael Jordan was cut his first year, but he came back and he was the best ever. That is what you have to have. The attitude that I'm going to show everybody, I'm going to work hard to get better and better.” So, my fingers are crossed that he offers up more inspiration at the show and inspires all of you as well.