UNCW welcomes some Magic

McLeod Brown | Sports Editor

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While Midnight Madness didn’t officially start until last Friday night, the campus of UNC Wilmington started going crazy a little earlier on Thursday, courtesy of some magic.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson came to speak in front of thousands packed inside Trask Coliseum on Thursday night as part of the Wilma Daniels Distinguished Lecture Series.

Instead of focusing on all of his personal accomplishments, however, the Hall of Fame point guard chose to speak on diversity and equality.

“You can grow up poor, but that doesn’t mean you have to have poor dreams,” said Johnson. “I had big, big dreams. For you young people, education is the key for you. I don’t want you to try to be like Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson. I want you to make sure you get a good education.”

Johnson incorporated stories of his upbringing and childhood to help motivate the hundreds of middle school students in the audience to look past their struggles and focus on their future.

“Don’t ever let anybody define who you are,” said Johnson. “Don’t let anybody ever tell you what you can’t do. That made me so upset when they said I couldn’t go from the basketball court to the boardroom, so I was out to show them that I could do just that.”

Johnson, who recently became part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and used to hold an ownership stake in the Los Angeles Lakers, has become known as one of the most successful people in transitioning from athlete to businessman.

Johnson’s lecture was a part of the Wilma Daniels Distinguished Lecture Series, a week-long celebration of diversity. The lecture focused on the youth of America and the importance of an education.

“Make sure they (the youth) take care of their education,” said Johnson of the purpose of the lecture. “Get the good grades, and they can become whoever they want to become. If you got that piece of paper, you can go on and do great things.”