Gazette News Report
WILBERFORCE — Basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson will be part of a ribbon cutting ceremony at Central State University next week.
Johnson and James “Shack” Harris, one of the first African-American quarterbacks drafted in the NFL, will help inaugurate CSU’s new $33.5M University Student Center Oct. 9, as part of Homecoming 2015.
The state-of-the-art student center has 85,000 square feet and has amenities that include a 568-seat cafeteria, a convenience store and bookstore, administrative offices and other student-centered services.
Johnson, who is chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), has successfully parlayed his skills and tenacity as a former NBA player for the Los Angeles Lakers into the business world. His unprecedented partnership with Starbucks, as the only franchisee in the history of the company, and his alliance with Sony to develop Magic Johnson Theaters have served as catalysts for redevelopment in urban communities.
For more than 30 years, Johnson has developed MJE into a conglomerate that is comprised of multiple business entities and partnerships including controlling interest in SodexoMAGIC, a food service and facilities management company that is the food service provider for the CSU student center. He is also co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA in partnership with Guggenheim Sports and Entertainment.
Harris, a Pro Bowl MVP, made history when he opened the 1969 football season as the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills after being drafted by the Bills in the eighth round. After playing on several other teams, Harris joined the front office of NFL organizations including the New York Jets, the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Harris’ post football career includes recognition by Sports Illustrated for two consecutive years (2003 and 2004) as one of the “Top-50 Most Influential Minorities in sports”; and by Black Enterprise in 2005 as “One of the most Powerful African Americans in sports.” In 2010, Harris and fellow quarterback and Super Bowl MVP, Doug Williams established the Black College Football Hall of Fame, created to preserve the legacy of HBCUs by honoring its greatest players, coaches and contributors.
Harris will be the keynote speaker at the Athletic Hall of Fame Luncheon held on Friday afternoon. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be 10 a.m.