Magic Johnson Turned Down Nike Stock Offer Back in 1979

Magic Johnson
Neon Tommy / CC-BY-2.0

Magic Johnson has a reported net worth of $500 million, so its safe to say he’s made some very good business decisions. But, there’s one blunder he wishes he could take back.

During an appearance on Ellen this week, the NBA legend revealed that he was offered stock to sign with Nike, back in 1979 when he was coming out of college.

“When I first came out of college, all the shoe companies came after me,” Magic explained. “And there was this guy, Phil Knight, who just started had Nike.”

“All the other companies offered me money, but they (Nike) couldn’t offer me money because they just started,” he continued. “So he said something [about] stocks — ‘I’m gonna give you a lot of stocks.’ I didn’t know nothing about stocks. I’m from the inner city, we don’t know about stocks, you know, at the time.”

“Boy, did I make a mistake. I’m still kicking myself. Every time I’m in a Nike store, I get mad. I could’ve been making money off of everybody buying Nikes right now.”

According to Investopedia, if someone had invested a $1,000 during Nike’s initial public offering (IPO) in December 1980, it would be worth $729,575 today, without reinvesting dividends.

Obviously, Magic would’ve likely gotten a more lucrative stock option, which would likely be worth hundreds of millions today.