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Guess who I met today?

Magic Johnson. No kiddin’.

I was working out at one of the gyms he owns and he walked in, sat down three machines away from me and began to work out.

I didn’t know it was him at first, but I thought he looked like himself and I didn’t want to do a “star” intrusion thing, so I just kept crunching my thighs.

Two buff guys walked by, spouting lousy language, talking about how Madonna does at least an hour per day on a treadmill. What she does for an hour on a treadmill is her business. I had done 20 minutes and figured that was pretty good for someone who wasn’t famous.

But I didn’t like their language and thought they might benefit from working harder on their mouths than their biceps.

I didn’t say a word. I just kept crunching my thighs.

When I was finished, I got up and walked past the two buff, lousy-mouthed guys who were talking to Magic.

Then I decided to turn around and go back.

What the heck, I’ll talk to him.

When the two guys saw me coming, they walked away and I walked over to Magic Johnson and introduced myself, putting out my hand.

He shook it firmly as he flashed those incredibly bright teeth of his in a grin as big as he is. But he didn’t stand up.

Boldly, I asked him, “What was the biggest challenge you encountered in life?” My idea was to see what he might be able to tell me that would help me SingBabySing’s singing lessons out to the world in a bigger way, but I didn’t mention my business. I figured that whatever he said would give me some wisdom.

I could tell it wasn’t necessarily a question he got asked a lot (or at least not so quickly), because he had to think about it a bit. I didn’t mean to throw him off guard, I just didn’t want to waste time. I figured I might never get another chance in life to ask Magic Johnson how he overcame obstacles to achieve what I consider real success, which is being able to help others in a big way.

This is what he said:

  • “You have to have the right information”
  • “Get the right team around you – those who care about you and believe in your vision”
  • “Be disciplined”
  • “Work extremely hard”

“By right information you mean not what the world tells you you can’t do, right?

“Yeah, and you have to have a team around you that can get the right information to you. People who have succeeded in what you want to do.”

I asked him where he was raised and we chatted about other things, then he said, “You also have to work really hard,” to which I replied, “I never understood that 8 hours a day work thing. I always want to ask people if they mean the first 8 hours of my work day or the second 8 hours of my work day.”

He laughed out loud, “Exactly. You got it!”

Then I asked him if he ever mentored people and he enthused, “Oh yeah. I have 200 kids I helped to get into college. Kids who don’t have enough money to go.”

“For sports?”

He stood up as he corrected me, “Oh, no. Academics!”

Then I saw how big he really is. And not just in height.


“Yeah.” There was that big smile again.

He put out his hand to shake mine and we beamed at each other as I thanked him for his time and for how his sayings, posted around the gym, have encouraged me.

He was truly humble about that and as I walked away, I put my hand over my heart and thanked God for the opportunity to meet such a great guy.

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