Few men in history have lived up to their monikers quite like Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Boasting five NBA championship wins, three NBA Most Valuable Player awards and an Olympic gold medal, Johnson’s basketball career is one of the most impressive in sport’s history. Off the court, Johnson is equally impressive. As part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, a $700 million dollar company, Johnson is a successful businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and respected AIDS/HIV activist. His many accomplishments are what make Earvin Johnson truly magical.
Because of his outstanding achievements, Johnson was chosen to be the first keynote speaker at the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Wilma W. Daniels Distinguished Lecture Promoting Diversity and Tolerance series. Delivering a message about the importance of education, Johnson captivated the close to 4,000 students who who filled the UNCW Trask Coliseum.
“What particularly drew us to him was that not only was he a successful athlete, but he is also a very successful businessman and entrepreneur,” said UNCW Public Relations Spokesperson Andrea Weaver. “We felt our students would be particularly interested in those two areas. Magic Johnson is not only successful, he is inspirational.”
When UNCW Bookstore Operations Manager Craig Hewett saw the press release from the Chancellor’s Office announcing Johnson’s appearance, he immediately reached out to the university to see if the bookstore could help.
“We wanted to be a part of this from the very beginning,” said Hewett. “I knew that [Johnson] had written several books, so we ordered copies to sell in our store and at Trask Coliseum.”
Prior to Johnson’s appearance, the UNCW Bookstore created two in-store displays with Johnson’s best-selling books, UNCW basketballs, UNCW apparel as well as posters promoting his appearance. The bookstore also made a promotional video for the event, which was posted on both the bookstore and university’s Facebook pages.
“We posted event information several times on our Facebook page – trying to build excitement on campus,” said Bookstore General Manager Stephanie Garay. “We also had our staff tell customers about Magic Johnson’s appearance on campus. We all worked hard to get the word out.”
With over 600 local middle school students attending the event, the university reached out to the bookstore for help. The bookstore responded by donating brightly colored wristbands inscribed with “Striving to Achieve Excellence” for each student to wear at the event.
“We very much appreciated Barnes & Noble’s participation and promotion of this event. They’re a terrific campus partner for us and we’re grateful that they were so involved and so excited about this lecture,” Weaver said. “I think that that kind of involvement with the university is so important, and Barnes & Noble does a great job with that.”
The UNCW Bookstore is looking forward to working with the university on future lecture series events.
“The school was impressed with how we helped promote the event and the UNCW merchandise that we offered,” Hewett said. “We’re looking forward to being involved with the distinguished lecture series in the future.”
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