Magic Johnson gets emotional discussing Commanders ownership

Magic Johnson won five NBA championships with the Lakers.

He’s a three-time league MVP who has gone on to become an incredibly successful businessman.

He already was part owner of teams in three major U.S. sports leagues — MLB’s Dodgers, WNBA’s Sparks and MLS’s LAFC — before an ownership group led by Josh Harris and including Johnson was approved to purchase the NFL’s Washington Commanders for a record $6.05 billion Thursday.

Even considering all that success, though, Johnson said in an interview that aired Friday on NBC’s “Today” show that gaining an ownership stake in the Commanders is “the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

The NFL has never had a Black principal owner. Johnson mentioned himself and Denver Broncos minority owners Mellody Hobson and Condoleezza Rice as people who can help set the stage for that to eventually change.

He later broke down in tears while explaining why the opportunity means so much to him.

“Breaking these barriers and going through these doors is important for me,” Johnson said. “As a proud Black man — you got me choking up now … this is a great opportunity. I don’t know why God blessed me with these opportunities. but I want to excel, not only for myself and my family but for all African Americans making sure we can see ourselves in these seats. And I want people to know that we can do the job.”

Johnson touched on similar sentiments in a pair of tweets Thursday immediately after the NFL owners unanimously approved the deal for Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment to purchase the Commanders from Dan Snyder, the team’s owner since 1999.

Johnson was also asked about a topic of great interest to many fans — another possible name change for a franchise that has gone by three different monikers in the last four years. Johnson said he was sure that “the name of the team will come up eventually, but right now we’ve got enough work to do and that will keep us busy.”