Basketball legend and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson has spent numerous hours on TV over the years as the point guard for the Los Angles Lakers. More than twenty years after playing basketball, the hall of famer, who is now a successful, celebrated entrepreneur, is running his own television network. Tonight, Johnson debuts his Atlanta-based cable network ASPiRE to the public.
Johnson’s entry into television comes from the communication network Comcast Corp. Comcast first announced their partnership with him earlier this year. ASPiRE will go live tonight at 8pm EST, and joins other channels targeting African-American viewers such as TV One and BET.
Johnson says ASPiRE is focused on uplifting the image of African-Americans and celebrating the success of those in the Black community. The network will include a mix of short films, music, comedy, documentaries, and other inspirational programs. ASPiRE will also partner with GMC, a regional cable channel that also offers positive programs.
Tonight, Cipriani on 110 East 42nd street in New York will be filled with stars such as, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Vivica Fox, Wycleaf Jean, Ruby Dee, Russell Simmons, Angie Martinez, Andre Harrell, Star Jones, Al Rocker, Natalie Cole, JR. Smith, Rev. Al Sharpton, New Edition, Doug E. Fresh, Funkmaster Flex, and many more prominent figures as they celebrate the live launch.
“This is so exciting for me. I’m pinching myself,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “This is big for myself and for the African American community.” ASPiRE will launch with charter brand partners including Chrysler Group, L’Oreal USA, Nationwide Insurance, Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart.
See BlackEnterprise.com’s coverage of the ASPiRE launch event below