Basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson has been selected to provide the keynote address at the 2014 National Restaurant Association Show May 18 at Chicago's McCormick Place.
According to a news release, Johnson will share insights into current issues and events, based on his 30-year journey toward becoming the No. 1 brand in Urban America.
"Mr. Johnson is an inspiration to us all," Convention Chair Sam Facchini said in the release. "He didn't let where he came from dictate where he could go. He has spent his life overcoming challenges and giving back to his communities. He is the embodiment of the American Dream in general, and the spirit of the restaurant industry in particular."
Johnson led the Michigan State University Spartans to the NCAA Championship in 1979. He was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers as the first overall pick of the 1979 NBA Draft and played for the Lakers for 13 years, during which time he enjoyed five NBA Championships, three MVP awards and 12 All-Star designations. He was part of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Basketball team that won the Gold Medal in Barcelona and returned to the Lakers as coach for the 1994 season.
Since his retirement, Johnson has been focused on his Magic Johnson Foundation, aimed at bringing jobs and businesses to underserved communities, the release said.
Additionally, his business portfolio includes:
- Los Angeles Dodgers, Major League Baseball Owner
- Yucaipa Johnson, a $500 million dollar private equity fund
- ASPIRE, a new African-American television network
- MAGIC Workforce Solutions, a staffing company
- SodexoMAGIC, a foodservice and facilities management company with more than 31 major accounts statewide, including the American Airlines Admiral Clubs and Toyota
- Magic Airport Holdings, a partnership with Hudson News operating airport concessions at Los Angeles International Airport, including the Magic Johnson's Sports store
- Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academies, a dropout prevention and recovery program with more than 17 locations to help students achieve their H.S. diplomas
- Clear Health Alliance, a Medicare/Medicaid healthcare provider with a specialty plan that covers HIV/AIDS patients
- Inner City Broadcasting (ICBC), with more than 15 radio stations
- EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, Controlling Shareholder
- Los Angeles Sparks, Women's National Basketball Association Owner
Johnson's keynote address will be held at 2 p.m. in McCormick Place's Grand Ballroom, S100, on May 18.