Two hundred school owners and directors attending the Paul Mitchell Schools biannual Summit meeting received a huge surprise when Earvin “Magic” Johnson walked through the door. The legendary basketball player, entrepreneur, and LA Dodgers owner dropped in to personally thank the schools for their $150,000 donation to the Magic Johnson Foundation.
Each year, the 16,000 students and staff from 101 Paul Mitchell Schools spend three months raising money for charity. This year’s “FUNraising” campaign raised over $2.6 million for 11 different charities, including the Magic Johnson Foundation. The foundation was also included in the 2012 campaign, with a $130,000 donation.
“God has really blessed you guys to do what you do every single day, to be associated with such an incredible brand, and I just want to say thank you,” Magic told the Summit audience. He then shared several key business strategies based on his personal experience, answered questions from the audience, and posed for photos with everyone there.
“Magic was unable to attend our FUNraising Gala two nights earlier, but he generously offered to surprise our owners and directors at Summit,” said Paul Mitchell Schools Dean and Cofounder Winn Claybaugh. “He did something similar last year, when he surprised and delighted the 3,000 students and staff members attending our 2012 Caper educational extravaganza in Las Vegas. Everyone who heard him was deeply moved by both of these unexpected visits. He not only demonstrated his warmth, humility, and lovable personality, but he also shared brilliant business advice that will certainly help our future professionals and our school leaders.”
owner Mark Palermo considers himself a lifetime Magic Johnson fan. As an all-district high-school prep basketball player, Mark says Magic was instrumental in his life. An avid follower of the Magic Johnson/Larry Bird basketball rivalry, Mark recalls this story: “We had 15 guys packed in my closet-size dorm room, watching the 1981 NBA championship. The Celtics beat the Lakers, and the 15 bozos (all fanatical Lakers fans like me) completely destroyed my dorm room. My Dean’s List status was yanked due to disciplinary actions by the dorm director. I told ALL my pals, ‘The only thing that would restitute this fiasco would be for me to personally meet Magic – you clowns better make this happen or I’ll never forgive you!’ Of course, they did ‘jack.’ Well, thanks to Winn Claybaugh, my dream has come true. I have forgiven the bozos, now pals again. I have closure. AND I am proud to have screamed like a 15-year-old girl!”
[Images courtesy of Paul Mitchell]