Magic Johnson to keynote HIMSS18, focus on leadership, advocacy

NBA superstar will draw from his long and varied experience in sports, business, community service, healthcare and technology.
By Mike Miliard
01:44 PM
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Magic Johnson to keynote HIMSS18

From his decades as charismatic face of the Los Angeles Lakers – first as Hall of Fame point guard, now as president of basketball operations – to his current status as a billionaire investor and catalyst for positive change in the community, Earvin "Magic" Johnson has always been a larger-than-life personality. And not just because he's 6-foot-9.

At HIMSS18 in Las Vegas, Johnson will deliver the closing keynote address on March 9, offering insights based not just on his legendary exploits on the court, but his experiences with the U.S. healthcare system as a longtime HIV patient and activist and his recent investments in an array of innovative technology startups.

[Also: Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt to keynote HIMSS18]

Since retiring from the professional basketball more than two decades ago, Johnson has pursued a string of high-profile business opportunities and made himself a champion of underserved urban neighborhoods.

Early on, he enacted unique an alliance with Sony Pictures to develop Magic Johnson Theatres. He also joined forces with Starbucks, becoming the chain's only franchisee, acquiring and eventually selling 125 stores. Deals such as those enabled him to invest in redevelopment projects that helped improve communities in L.A., New York, Detroit, Washington and more.


In 2012, Johnson and fellow investors paid $2 billion for baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers – the most ever paid for a pro sports team. He's a three-sport athlete, in fact: In addition to leading basketball operations for Lakers in the NBA, he also co-owns the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Football Club.

Recently, Johnson's technology projects have included a board position with Square, a mobile payment focused on small business entrepreneurs, and investment a several minority-owned IT companies. He also serves as chairman of the Magic Johnson Foundation, which focuses on improving urban communities with HIV/AIDS awareness and education.

He'll offer lessons on leadership and innovation drawn from long and varied experience in sports, business, community service, healthcare and technology. For inspirational success stories, Earvin Johnson is hard to beat.

"For me, it always goes back to something I learned in basketball," he's said. "There’s winning and there’s losing, and in life you have to know they both will happen. But what’s never been acceptable to me is quitting."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com