Magic Johnson sells his share of the Lakers
Johnson sold his ownership stake in the Lakers, about 4.5%, to influential season-ticket holder Patrick Soon-Shiong, the team said Monday.
Johnson, who holds assets in many business sectors, including commercial real estate, health clubs and restaurants, said in a statement that his decision was reached after "heavy deliberation and a weighing heart."
"Dr. Soon-Shiong is a super Lakers fan, an outstanding businessman, a dedicated philanthropist and one of the most active community leaders in Los Angeles,” Johnson said. “I am truly humbled to have been a Lakers player for 13 years and an owner for over 10 years. I thank Dr. [Jerry] Buss from the deepest part of my heart and soul for allowing me such an incredible opportunity. I will continue to work alongside Dr. Buss, Jeanie Buss and Mitch Kupchak in their efforts to continually build and maintain the best NBA franchise in the league.
"This was a bittersweet business decision made on behalf of my family and myself, and I want to assure all the wonderful and loyal Lakers fans that my decision will in no way affect my dedication and support for the Los Angeles Lakers. I am and will always be a Laker for life.”
Based on a valuation by Forbes magazine that the Lakers were worth $607 million last December, Johnson's stake was worth about $28 million, though exact terms of the sale were not disclosed.
"The sale of Earvin’s share of the team is a business decision which will not change our relationship," Lakers owner Jerry Buss said in a statement. "Our friendship goes well beyond business. Patrick is a long-time and passionate Lakers fan and we are delighted to have him as a partner.”
-- Mike Bresnahan
Photo: Magic Johnson in 2005. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times