07/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Magic Johnson's Urban Business Empire

Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced his arrival as a businessman 13 years ago, when he took part in an unusual meeting with gang leaders from the Bloods and the Crips.

At the time, Johnson was building a movie theater in Baldwin Hills. Would the gang members, Johnson asked, be kind enough not to shoot it up?

"I just laid it out to them that I'm building this theater for the community," Johnson, the former Lakers basketball standout, recalled from his seventh-floor office in Beverly Hills. "You can't have anything happen at this theater because we're going to hire your cousins, your mothers, your sons and daughters. You come in here and shoot up the place, it might be your own relatives inside."

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