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Magic Johnson part of group reportedly purchasing NFL’s Commanders

TODAY - Season 72

TODAY -- Pictured: Magic Johnson on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images)

Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty I

Magic Johnson sold his shares of the Los Angeles Lakers 13 years ago, but he hasn’t gotten out of the sports ownership business. He still is a minority owner of the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC, and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.

Soon you might be able to add the NFL’s Washington Commanders to that list.

Scandal-plagued owner Dan Snyder reportedly is selling the Commanders — finally — to a group headed by Joshua Harris. Johnson is part of Harris’ ownership group, according to multiple reports (Magic was part of Harris’ failed bid to buy the Broncos a year ago). Harris’ group reportedly is bidding $6 billion for the Commanders — a record number for a sports franchise sale — although there are reports the deal is not done (that may be Snyder trying to squeeze more out of Harris in final negotiations).

If Harris’ name sounds familiar to NBA fans, it’s because he owns the Philadelphia 76ers. Harris was the owner that green-lit “the process” and still is in charge of a team that enters this year’s playoffs as a title contender. He also owns a stake in English Premier League’s Crystal Palace F.C.

Magic is an NBA legend, a five-time champion as leader of the Showtime Lakers era, who has had more impact off the court than he had on it. He is an incredibly successful businessman off the court with real estate investments in urban areas, the Magic Johnson Theaters that brought some of the first high-end theaters to underserved communities, he has been a seed investor in tech companies and at one point owned more than 100 Starbucks franchises. He has a vast investment portfolio. Magic also helped change the face of the AIDS discussion in the United States in the 1990s with his announcement he had the disease.

Magic provides Harris with an investor but also someone who can bring a familiar, popular and friendly face to the ownership group. Magic is also known for investing in the community, something any new Commanders ownership group needs to re-establish in the Washington D.C. area.