A new “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” ad featuring legendary basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr. debuted today in Businessweek magazine.
Stand Up 4 Public Schools is the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) public advocacy campaign that celebrates the good things happening in public schools. In the ad, Johnson notes, “Who I am today began with public education,” the campaign tagline.
He also states, “I developed a strong work ethic at home in Lansing, Mich. My father was an assembly worker and my mother was a school custodian. I developed my mind and body at public school—that’s where the ‘Magic’ began.”
The ad, along with several other versions featuring Johnson, is downloadable at the Stand Up 4 Public Schools website. Other celebrity spokespersons include Khan Academy founder Sal Khan and television host and actor Montel Williams.
Johnson spoke about the campaign and the importance of public education earlier this month at NSBA’s Annual Conference in New Orleans. Watch a video of the presentation and a question-and-answer session with NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel on NSBA’s You Tube channel.
Aside from his professional basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson also is considered the most successful African-American businessman in our nation. Having left the basketball court for the boardroom, Johnson is Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), which provides high-quality products and services that focus primarily on ethnically diverse and underserved urban communities through strategic alliances, investments, consulting and endorsements.
His business portfolio includes: ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball and the WNBA team Los Angeles Sparks; a $500 million private equity fund; ASPIRE, an African-American television network; MAGIC Workforce Solutions, a staffing company, and SodexoMAGIC, a food service and facilities management company, among many other entities.
His philanthropic work includes the Magic Johnson Foundation, which he founded in 1991 to develop and fund programs addressing HIV/AIDS prevention, HIV testing, and effective treatment for persons living with HIV/AIDS. It runs five HIV/AIDS Clinics that assist all patients regardless of their ability to pay and have tested more than 40,000 individuals.
The foundation also runs a scholarship program that currently has 160 students. It also helps fund and build Community Empowerment Centers to help bridge the education gap by providing ethnically diverse urban communities access to resources and programming that educate, empower and strengthen individuals through the innovative use of technology. Currently there are 18 empowerment centers.