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Up Front ‘MAGIC’ TOUCH


EARVIN ‘MAGIC’ JOHNSON’S SMILE AND SUBSTANCE BRIGHTENED BOWL EXPO.


/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// He had been the


smiling face of basket- ball since joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. It was a joyous, infectious smile. Then, on Nov. 7, 1991, he became the smiling face of AIDS when he an- nounced his retirement from the NBA because he had contracted the then-highly feared dis- ease. It was a determined, inspirational smile. On June 25 of this year, Earvin “Magic” Johnson became the smiling face of Inter- national Bowl Expo, the annual convention and trade show of the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America, held in Las Vegas. It was a relaxed and friendly smile. Johnson has much to smile about. He has survived AIDS. He has been en- shrined in basketball’s hall of fame. And he has become a highly successful entre- preneur as a former owner of the Lakers,


a current owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and a former exclusive franchisee of Starbucks. At Bowl Expo, John- son spoke of his respect- ful rivalry with fellow basketball great Larry Bird, the importance of a business over-delivering to its customers, and his experience opening Star- bucks coffee shops in minority neighborhoods. “Minority people will


pay $3 for a cup of coffee,” he said. “But we’re not so sure about scones. So we took out the scones and put in sweet potato pie.” Adapting to the marketplace led to


an average customer ticket of $4.59 — about 8 cents higher than Starbucks’ na- tional average at the time, Johnson said. And then he flashed his signature


smile. This time, it was a smile of pride and satisfaction.


EVERYTHING BOWLING, ALL THE TIME


FROM BALLING TO BUSINESS: Johnson’s business acumen has become as legendary as his basketball ability, and he made that the focus of his Expo talk.


ALL SMILES:BPAA Executive Director, Frank DeSocio (left), and BPAA President, Tom Martino, presented Johnson with a commemorative bowling pin.


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