Magic Johnson has opened up on his close bond with Michael Jordan to Jimmy Kimmel after the NBA icons went on vacation together to Europe in the summer.
Johnson, 64, was recently announced by Forbes as the fourth billionaire sportsman in the United States after Jordan himself, Tiger Woods and LeBron James.
The two went on vacation with their wives to Sardinia in the summer with Jordan often seen relaxing on a yacht in the Mediterranean around the time he spent alongside his fellow basketball star.
And speaking to Jimmy Kimmel on his show, Johnson said the neither he nor Jordan himself can believe the lifestyle they now lead.
‘Jimmy, it’s funny – both of us never thought we would be in this position,’ Johnson explained. ‘Out there with yachts, to be able to go to dinner with our wives, to be in Europe.
Magic Johnson (right, with his wife Cookie) and Michael Jordan (left, with wife Yvette) pictured on vacation together in Italy during the summer
Johnson said that he and Jordan like to have fun with their lifestyle when on vacation – here, they are pictured having a band sing to them while out to dinner in Italy
‘It is mind-blowing to both of us and we have fun with it.’
Kimmel asked Johnson who pays for dinner when he goes out with Jordan.
‘We flip a coin,’ Johnson said with a smile. ‘It is his, with his face on both sides!’
One of their nights out together in Europe in the summer saw Hollywood actor Samuel L Jackson join them for dinner at the world-famous Da Paolino Ristorante in Capri, Italy.
Johnson also shared a video on his story showing himself and Jordan being sang to by a band in the restaurant and captioned his pictures from the night: ‘Tonight we enjoyed an incredible dinner at the world-famous Da Paolino Ristorante AKA the lemon tree restaurant in Capri, Italy.
‘AND I got to hang out with my great friend and the greatest basketball player to ever live, Michael Jordan, and his wife Yvette, Sam (Samuel L Jackson) and LaTanya Jackson, Judge Greg and Linda Mathis, and John and Vicki Palmer.’
Jordan recently cemented his status as one of the wealthiest men in the sporting landscape by selling his controlling stake in the Charlotte Hornets for $3billion.
Jordan, 60, has previously had a reputation for being tight with his money in times gone by. He once apparently tipped a waitress with a $5 poker chip with Wayne Gretzky.
Jordan, of the Chicago Bulls, pictured facing Johnson of the Lakers during the 1991 NBA Finals
Johnson also spoke about recently being crowned as a billionaire on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Rich Strafella, the former VP of Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, told the story: ‘It was a private salon game. Michael had ordered a drink from the cocktail waitress, and he gave her a five-dollar chip.
‘Wayne took it off the cocktail waitress’s tray, gave it back to Michael, grabbed a hundred-dollar chip from Michael’s stack, and put it on the cocktail waitress’s tray. Then he said, “That’s how we tip in Las Vegas, Michael”‘,
Speaking about his own recent newfound status as a billionaire, Johnson said to Kimmel: ‘I never thought in my wildest dreams that any of this could happen like this. Even being on your show – you think about the Jonny Carson days, watching it at home in Michigan.
‘God blessed me, I am so thankful but at the same time it takes a lot hard work. Everybody thinks they know you – a distant cousin’s friend, I’ve got about 10 of them.’
Johnson has made a number of shrewd investments away from basketball – where he made an estimated $40m across his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Magic’s 60 percent stake in a Iowa-based life insurance company called EquiTrust, which he purchased in 2015, has been racking in the big bucks throughout the years.
What’s more, is that it’s the biggest asset in the Magic Johnson Enterprises portfolio. Since taking control, Magic’s grown the company’s total assets from $16B to $26B, with annual revenues floating around $2.6billion, according to Forbes.
He took his minority ownership take in the Commanders earlier this year, too.