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USA TODAY Hollywood Hero Award Honors Earvin 'Magic' Johnson for His Work With the Magic Johnson Foundation

April 8, 2008
MCLEAN, Va., April 8, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NBA Legend, entrepreneur and philanthropist Earvin "Magic" Johnson will be honored May 6 as the recipient of the third annual USA TODAY Hollywood Hero Award being presented by USA TODAY President and Publisher Craig A. Moon. The award recognizes his work in entertainment and underserved communities with the Magic Johnson Foundation.

Johnson and the Magic Johnson Foundation will be feted at an award gala on the evening of May 6 at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Scheduled presenters include: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Regina King, Russell Simmons, Paul Sorvino, Craig Moon, and Zina Bethune.

Guests will enjoy dinner with a special guest performance by award-winning R&B singer, Chante Moore.

The Magic Johnson Foundation was founded in 1991 as a single-disease organization that worked to raise funds for community-based organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs. Over the past few years, the Magic Johnson Foundation has awarded more than $1.1 million in funds, established more than 20 Magic Johnson Community Empowerment Centers, four HIV/AIDS clinics and has co-created the award-winning "I Stand With Magic" campaign to end HIV/AIDS in the black community.

"I am humbled and honored to receive this award but I have to share it with all of my corporate and community partners as they have helped make everything we do possible," said Earvin "Magic" Johnson, founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation. "Together, we have positively impacted a lot of communities and a lot of lives and that feels good."

"We are very pleased to present our third annual USA TODAY Hollywood Hero award to Mr. Johnson. His work as a social advocate for underserved communities with the Magic Johnson Foundation should be celebrated," said USA TODAY President and Publisher Craig Moon.

In what has become a USA TODAY signature event, the USA TODAY Hollywood Hero Award is presented annually to an entertainment industry humanitarian who has made remarkable contributions of time and energies with a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the quality of life for others. The USA TODAY Hollywood Hero Award recipient is unique in that his or her efforts extend far beyond a charitable contribution or simply lending one's celebrity to enhance a cause or concern.

The 2008 USA TODAY Hollywood Hero award is proudly sponsored by Best Buy.

About Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Earvin Johnson, Jr. is Founder and Chairman of the Magic Johnson Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to developing programs and supporting services that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities.

Founded in 1991, the Magic Johnson Foundation has become one of the most recognizable charitable organizations around the world. Over the past few years, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.1 million to community-based organizations that focus on HIV/AIDS education and prevention, established four HIV/AIDS clinics and has co-created the award-winning "I Stand With Magic" campaign to end HIV/AIDS in the black community.

Additionally, the Foundation has supported more than 800 minority high school students with college scholarships (many through the organization's Taylor Michaels Scholarship Program), opened more than 20 Magic Johnson Community Empowerment Centers located in underserved communities across the country, and provides a range of community-based initiatives including an annual children's Mardi Gras, holiday toy drive and semi-annual job fair.

Johnson is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises. Through strategic investments, partnerships and endorsements, Magic Johnson Enterprises has bolstered the economy by establishing brand name businesses in underserved communities, training and hiring local residents and employing local contractors.

Magic Johnson Enterprises is comprised of a portfolio of companies and partnerships that include Urban Coffee Opportunities (making MJE the only joint venture partner of its kind with Starbucks), Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund which is the country's largest private real estate fund focused on the revitalization of underserved communities, over 30 Burger King restaurants, a dozen 24 Hour Fitness Magic Sport centers, a T.G.I. Fridays restaurant, and a long-standing partnership with AMC Magic Johnson Theatres.

Magic Johnson Enterprises recently launched several additional initiatives: SodexoMagic, LLC and respective partnerships with Aetna and Best Buy. SodexoMagic, LLC provides an extensive portfolio of food and facilities management services as well as offers signature dining facilities. MJE's alliance with Aetna will empower businesses and ethnically diverse communities to make informed choices about health care options by improving health care literacy and demonstrating the benefits of wellness. Similarly, MJE has entered into a multi-year relationship with retail giant Best Buy to enhance urban retail growth strategies and implement diversity outreach with multicultural consumers.

In addition to his varied business accomplishments, Mr. Johnson was voted (unaided) number one at representing the urban community, garnering a higher percentage than any other organization or personality (February 2008 Yankelovich/Magic Johnson Brand Study). He was also voted the number one rated athlete for corporate endorsements (TSE Sports & Entertainment Survey, April 2007) and one of the most highly rated celebrities able to influence consumer purchasing power (rated 6 out of 350 according to the 2006 Davie Brown Index).

Johnson is universally known for his 13 year career in the NBA. His honors include: five national championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, 3 MVP awards, 12 NBA All-Star games, a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain and induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

About The Magic Johnson Foundation

The Magic Johnson Foundation was established in 1991 as a single-disease organization that worked to raise funds for community-based organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs. The Foundation since expanded the mission to focus on developing programs and supporting community-based organizations that address broader educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities. Learn more at http://www.magicjohnson.org.

About USA TODAY

USA TODAY is the nation's top-selling newspaper. It is published via satellite at 34 locations in the USA and at four sites abroad. With a total average daily circulation of 2.3 million, USA TODAY is available worldwide. USA TODAY is published by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI). The USA TODAY brand also includes: USATODAY.com, an award-winning news and information Web site that is updated 24 hours per day; USA TODAY Sports Weekly, a magazine for enthusiasts of college and professional football and baseball; USA TODAY Mobile, offering up-to-the minute news and information on a variety of mobile platforms and devices; and USA TODAY LIVE, the television arm of the USA TODAY brand that brings the spirit and quality of the newspaper to television.

SOURCE USA TODAY

http://www.magicjohnson.org

http://www.usatoday.com



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