Along with exceptional basketball skills come the millions. That is what life suggests for NBA superstars, especially if you are the living legend and Los Angeles Lakers icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson. And while it’s a no-brainer that Johnson indeed made quite a fortune for bringing “magic” into the league, the question is, where does he splurge it on?
Like any other rising star, Johnson was fond of partying, women, and the nightlife in his early years in the NBA. But now that he’s long been retired, Magic likes to spend his time and money on more meaningful activities, things that he and his family will treasure for the rest of their lives. And for the Hall of Famer, there’s no other way to do it than traveling with the fam.
According to Johnson, he and his wife Cookie, have been enjoying traveling all over the world for “about 43 years” now. They’ve been doing this “since before they were married.” And for Magic, they may be spending money, but indulging in the rich history and culture of different countries is priceless.
“We like to see the world and see how other people live... We’ve been all over the world, different countries, different Caribbean islands,” Johnson told Forbes last year. “We love looking at the history of those countries we visit, love touring around and looking at special places, whether it’s old churches or buildings, really getting involved in the history and culture of those places.”
Magic takes vacation seriously
Having been traveling for more than four decades, Magic and his wife have already developed some sort of a system when taking a vacation. Johnson said they travel every year for five weeks, and the schedule has to be followed no matter what. So when they plan, Johnson ensures that the dates they pick are vacant days. By that, Magic meant zero work whatsoever. And being the boss of his own company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, the three-time NBA MVP, works as hard as he takes his leisure time seriously.
“I work hard and then I look forward to those five weeks in Europe or other places,” Johnson revealed. “I told my wife a long time ago, let’s go when we don’t have to worry about coming back, so we can take our time and really enjoy it. Owning my own company allows me to be able to do it. I work hard and when I’m on vacation I want to be on vacation.”
If it’s traveling, then there’s food. As we all know, travel and food come in pairs, and Johnson ensures he’s getting the best of both worlds.
“I go for the food a lot! I love Italian food, the French do pastries and really bake amazing breads. Of course, the pasta in Italy. To go to Greece and get the fresh fish and the Greek salad, oh my goodness! It just blew me away.”
Favorite type of vacation
Some may not know this, but Magic loves the water. In fact, he’s “been yachting for 30 years” now. So as for his favorite type of vacation activity, Johnson said just about everything that has to do with water.
“I always enjoy going on a yacht in Europe. We get a chance to do the beach of course, because I like to be on the water,” he admitted. “All of my travel, especially if you think about Europe and the Caribbean, has to do with being around the water.”
Magic recommends traveling to everybody
Contrary to the norm these days, Johnson doesn’t post his travel adventures on social media as they happen. Instead, he confessed that “usually when I’m posting it’s when we are leaving.” However, he also admitted that it makes him feel good whenever he sees random people or fellow NBA superstars and celebrities go to places he has been.
“A lot of people are also eating at the restaurants we tweet about in those places. Dwayne Wade and his wife Gabbi, they were just in Capri and we had tweeted about the Lemon Tree restaurant, they went there and said ‘Oh my goodness Magic you were right!’ That makes me feel good. Michelangelo’s in Antibes, Jay-Z and Beyonce were just there for her birthday,” he divulged.
Ultimately, Magic “recommends traveling to everybody.” And for those who are not comfortable flying around the world for various reasons, he puts an emphasis on the idea that “it doesn’t have to be out of the country.”
Having heard Johnson rave about his travel escapades, it’s hard not to dream about having a perfect vacation with our family too. But of course, as much as some of us want to, reality will slap some of us a bit to remind us that we can’t just travel to those famous tourist spots. But the most important lesson from Magic the magic is in spending those moments with family.