Magic Johnson recalls leaving a Nike shoe offer on the table – ‘Man, I would have been a billionaire by now’


HBO’s “Winning Time: The Rise of the Laker’s Dynasty” takes viewers on a journey down memory lane, detailing the journey of the popular sports franchise the world knows and loves today.

Although the series has been criticized by the players it represents, The Showtime Lakers (including Johnson himself played by actor Quincy Isaiah), it gives the world a glimpse into the lives of these OG NBA players.

One particular episode sheds light on the infamous Nike deal that Johnson walked away from and got people excited about his decision. However, let’s break down what the offer looked like at the time.

According to Inc., the show “assumes” that Nike co-founder Phil Knight offered Johnson $100,000 in Nike stock options. Additionally, this was in addition to a $1 royalty for each shoe sold, “but it’s probably double the actual amount,” the outlet speculates.

A chart appears in the episode that estimates Johnson lost $5.2 billion by turning down the offer. However, Inc. also broke down the numbers, and “Winning Time”‘s estimate may not be very accurate.

It’s unclear what Johnson’s exact numbers are leaving the deal on the table. However, the outlet has provided a breakdown which you can view here.

Again, when you think about the deal in hindsight, it’s easy to say that Johnson missed out on a fortune. But, it is very important to note that the shoe company was not the Nike that the world now knows and loves. It was also the pre-Jordanian era. So, there weren’t really any athlete endorsements to rely on, so Johnson made the deal he knew could bless his pockets at this point. The Converse deal netted him $100,000 in cash at the time.


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