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Earvin "Magic" Johnson takes part in the distinguished speaker series taken place at the Pasadena Convention Center on Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2015. (Daniel Valencia/Courier)
Earvin “Magic” Johnson takes part in the distinguished speaker series taken place at the Pasadena Convention Center on Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2015. (Daniel Valencia/Courier)

“I love to win and I hate to lose.”

That is Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr.’s attitude on life and all personal, athletic, and business ventures he pursues. Johnson, an NBA legend, a two-time Hall of Famer, part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the most powerful entrepreneurs in the world, and philanthropist, explained this outlook to a full house last Wednesday at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

The Distinguished Speaker Series of Southern California, which was founded in 1996, invites seven successful, influential speakers from all walks of life to talk about many different topics such as world affairs, business, politics, culture, and environment.

“We provide entertainment for the community,” said Kathy Winterhalder, the owner of Distinguished Speakers. “Not only is it entertainment, but it’s also educational… It’s really an opportunity to bring thought leaders and world leaders to help educate and influence the community.”

Johnson did exactly that with his stories of his friendship-rivalry with Larry Bird, his first entrepreneurial mission to open movie theaters in the urban community, his struggle of coping with HIV, and his positive and adamant mindset to win that helped him conquer it all.

“You will make mistakes. I have made mistakes,” said Johnson during his speech.” But I want everyone here to know that you can always fix your mistakes… You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else is going to?”

His inspirational message reached an extremely broad audience who asked questions and laughed and actively engaged with him throughout the speech.

“Johnson is unique in that he resonates with many different people,” said Winterhalder. “Many subscribers brought their children today, and we usually don’t have many children in the audience… He is like a hero.”

“He really is,” added Ben Bergman, a reporter for KPPC and the moderator for the event. “He’s such a role model for a lot of people for so many different things, like for overcoming HIV, for being a businessman, for being such a leader in the African-American community, for being such an amazing basketball player. He has all those things… He’s also someone who has given back to others.”

Johnson proved to clearly be a giver and a personable hero, as he continuously invited young fans wearing Dodgers hats and uniforms towards the stage for pictures and autographs.

“I gotta do it,” said Johnson to the audience, who cheered him on. “I love the kids. I love the fans.”

For more information about the Distinguished Speaker Series of Southern California, click here.

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