Magic Johnson joins board of Fanatics



Basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson joined the board of Fanatics, the sports licensing company said Wednesday.

The former Los Angeles Laker — who led his team five times to the NBA championship — has agreed to join the board as one of three independent directors, including Mindy Grossman, chief executive of WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and Gerald Storch, a former CEO of Toys R Us and Hudson’s Bay Company, which owns Saks Fifth Avenue.

The high-profile appointment comes as the privately held Fanatics, which makes jerseys and other gear for professional sports leagues and teams as well as universities, has been reportedly working toward plans to file for an initial public offering.

While an IPO is clearly an available path to us, there is no update on any timeline,” the company said in a statement. “Our focus remains on building a great global company and strengthening our vertical commerce business model.”

Led by founder Michael Rubin, Fanatics has been on a fundraising tear, securing $350 million in August, which values the company at $6.2 billion. The National Football League and Major League Baseball are also investors in the company, which sells licensed apparel mostly online.

In a statement, Rubin said of Johnson, “He’s an NBA legend and a titan in the business world, but more importantly he recognizes and leverages his platform to advance diversity and inclusion across all business sectors.”

The hoopster heads up Magic Johnson Enterprises, an investment company that focuses on ethnically diverse and underserved urban communities. In 2012, he became co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and holds ownership stakes in the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Football Club, and eSports franchise Team Liquid. His company also owned more than 100 Starbucks stores until 2010.

“It’s an honor to be invited to join the Fanatics board of directors,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’ve been impressed with the evolution of the company and its ability to transform the industry over the past several years.”


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