“Shut up and dribble” just doesn’t work for Magic Johnson, apparently. Johnson is over halfway to billionaire status but apparently, he’s still hungry. Having acquired ESPN and other interests, Disney is in a position where it needs to offload 21 California regional sports networks. Ice Cube had previously declared his intention to bid for the networks and now, with Johnson, that prospect looks much stronger.
Ice Cube turned a lot of heads when he founded his “Big 3” basketball league. Comprised of former NBA professionals, the league is a huge move in Black entertainers monetizing their value and asserting their independence. The league is a power move, for sure — it is a clear signal to Black men that they can build their own league and directly benefit from the dollars they produce. Owning the product is huge and so naturally, the next step is to control and profit from the viewing angle.
With 21 regional networks there is immense opportunity to put on exciting programming for audiences and with that, build an audience. Building an audience, naturally, means attracting advertising dollars from companies who would like to sell products and services to viewers. Advertising dollars, ultimately, might lead to enough capital to purchase more networks and assets. You can see where this is going. This is about ownership, not merely sports. Ice Cube, Magic Johnson and others are using sports and entertainment towards ownership, not merely amusement.
Magic Johnson and Ice Cube are proving that we aren’t simply valuable as entertainers. We have the power to control our fate, build institutions and build legacies. Today it’s the Big 3, next it could be a new NBA. Today it’s 21 regional sports networks, tomorrow it could be a major broadcasting network. There isn’t anything we can’t do.