Magic Johnson Leaves NBA Post to Serve His Community and His Church
“I wanted to get more involved with my church and working with Bishop Blake…I share his vision and want to just work with him and for him to see how we can improve the community.” – Earvin “Magic” Johnson
Earlier this year, former Laker star Earvin “Magic” Johnson walked away from his position as the Los Angeles Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations. The work, said the long-time West Angeles member in an April 2019 NPR interview, was “not fun” for him. It seemed to stand in the way of his ability to truly help those who needed him most. That move now leaves him with plenty of time, however, to explore the ways in which he can be of service to the community, work which centers around his church.
Johnson recently consulted with his pastor, COGIC’s Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr., on plans to help secure the construction of the West Angeles Family Life Center on Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. The center will provide much-needed programs and development for inner city families. In a recent Associated Press interview, Johnson stated,
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment itself that an African-American pastor, a Bishop, can say to us as a community and congregation that, ‘we own our church.’ I think what you’ll see is that others will follow. From that sale, we’re able to build our family life center. So many community services will be established because of the family life center. When he asked me to help out, I was very willing to do that and to advise him and the other members that he chose to make sure they were making the right decisions and moves.”
A LIFE OF WORSHIP
Magic Johnson and his wife, Cookie, have been active members of West Angeles Church of God In Christ for almost 20 years. His membership at the church and his relationship with Bishop Blake have helped him connect more deeply with his faith. In a recent Sunday presentation at the church, Johnson revealed that he now prays more, and surrounds himself with people of faith. He has also seen where his presence has inspired others around the world to stand by their faith as well. “It’s truly a blessing when you know what direction you’re going in,” said Magic. “It’s such a change for me because now when I go to speak to corporations, I lead off by praising the Lord…You can touch somebody else to praise the Lord.”
Johnson has worked with Bishop Blake and the church on several other projects. He has been involved with relief efforts for cities hit by hurricanes and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey. Johnson has also worked in conjunction with the church’s men’s ministry to help strengthen inner-city men, boys, and families. Now, the development of the Family Life Center will become his new focus.
“I wanted to get more involved with my church and with working with Bishop Blake,” Johnson told The Associated Press. “When you think about his spiritual vision and plan, as well as what he had in mind in terms of his business plan for the Crenshaw corridor, it’s in line with what I’ve been doing in my business. I share his vision and want to just work with him and for him to see how we can improve the community.”
READ THE COMPLETE ASSOCIATED PRESS INTERVIEW HERE.