Magic Johnson Loves the Kids: Basketball Star Campaigns for Mentor Program

February 8, 2013  |  

Former basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson has joined forces with Coca Cola, rapper/actor Common, and BET boss lady Debra Lee for a program that will allow youth between 16 and 21 to shadow them and their teams for a week in the summer.

Part owner of the LA Dodgers and Magic Johnson Theaters, Johnson told that he wants to teach teens that “focus, discipline and sacrifice are all necessary attributes to become successful.”

Common has always had a presence in the community, including in his hometown (and mine) of Chicago. Here’s what he had to say about his mission in the program: “I want them to experience the ups and downs, the hard work and discipline that it takes.”

He also said he will personally be involved with the mentees. “Beyond music, it’s important for me to reach back and create a legacy bigger than my career,” Common said.

These celebrity leaders are on the right track. According to, a Pew Study shows that minority and low income youth who have mentorship are 46 percent less likely to use illegal drugs, 53 percent less likely to skip school, and 33 percent less likely to hit someone.

So hopefully by these familiar faces taking a stance on mentorship, others will be encouraged to get involved with organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters or similar programs as well.

Anyone can nominate a young person for the “Pay It Forward” apprenticeship program via the My Coke Rewards site through March 2.

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