Industry Weekly

[I Was There]

Magic Johnson caps off the Global Gaming Expo

Magic captivated the crowd at G2E.
Photo: Danny Moloshok / AP

Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s smile and energy are just as contagious now as they were when he was lighting up the NBA and leading the Lakers to championships. As the ultimate keynote speaker for day four of the annual Global Gaming Expo at the Sands Expo & Convention Center last week, Magic wowed the crowd with recollections from his sports and business careers, offering valuable lessons from a life of success. He let the audience inside the thought process behind his investment company’s endeavors into movie theater multiplexes, Starbucks and Sodexo, and also explained why he’s so big on pro-sports franchises; he’s part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks in addition to his relatively new gig as President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers.

Magic Johnson at G2E

Magic’s savvy isn’t limited to sports and business, and he also demonstrated plenty of understanding about how Vegas works. “I’m a big fight fan and also I love the shows, so I come and hang out here a lot. I love it,” he said. “But now you’ve got some of the most amazing restaurants. That was the one thing that really changed, when you brought in the restaurants, and then also to make sure you included the family. I think it really turned things around. Now everybody can come to Las Vegas and have a good time. You want them to gamble, but even if they don’t, they’re still having a great time.”

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Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for more than 18 years. He currently serves as editor-at-large covering the ...

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