Magic at Morgan

Magic Johnson steps foot on Morgan State University’s campus to meet with students, administration, and SodexoMagic staff.


Elijah Pittman

Magic Johnson with the Magnificent Marching Machine at Morgan State University | February 20, 2023.

Balloon displays and school spirit filled Morgan State’s campus on Monday morning as Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Hall of Famer and NBA great, toured the campus.

Thurgood Marshall Dining hall, where Johnson’s company SodexoMagic serves as the university’s dining services provider, was decorated with two balloon displays — red, white and blue and purple and gold, representing Johnson’s career with the U.S. Olympic team and the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Johnson met with University President David Wilson and his administrative staff before walking across campus. 

Johnson was greeted on the University Student Center patio by Benny the Bear and the Magnificent Marching Machine chanting “I’m so great, I go to Morgan State.” 

“The experience has been amazing. Your president is outstanding and his executive team so it’s been a great visit for me so far,” Johnson told the Spokesman on his way inside the student center. 

Johnson connected with students throughout his visit, shaking hands, signing autographs, and taking photos. He continued his tour at Hill Field House where he met with the men’s and women’s basketball teams to pass on words of wisdom before answering questions.

“No heroes tonight, everybody plays together,” Johnson said to players of the men and women basketball team. “When you’re playing a big game, it’s all about the execution of the little things.”

As he stepped into Thurgood Marshall Dining Hall, Johnson was greeted by smiles and cheers from Sodexo kitchen staff, the Morgan cheer team and fellow Morgan students. The crowd grew bigger as students swarmed Johnson for pictures and autographs while he toured the dining hall. 

“It feels great because it is like a once in a lifetime experience that’s why I had to skip class for this,” said Jaden Reeves, a Morgan student.

“What I enjoyed today was I got to see students really enjoying their campus life,” Johnson told the Spokesman after touring Thurgood Marshall Dining Hall.

Johnson said last Wednesday that he was hoping to adjust his schedule to attend Monday’s basketball games against Howard University. “That’s a big game, too…I know the campus is going to be buzzing for that game,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to the game tonight and just hanging out with everybody,” Johnson said. 

When asked who will win the games he responded “Morgan State better win!”

Toto Fagbenie, a forward on the men’s basketball team said, “He gave us [the basketball team] energy and fuel and now we’re ready for the game.” 

Johnson founded Sodexo Magic in 2006, ten years after his final retirement from the NBA, with the pillars of nourishment, quality of life, wellness, and equality. “…When you think about myself and my journey, it’s always been about making sure I reach back and give back to the Black community and Latino community,” Johnson said.

In 2019, SodexoMagic made a $2 million donation to Grambling State University outside of the five-year partnership it made with the school in 2019.

SodexoMAGIC partnered with the Chicago Public School’s to help give 1,000 home safety kits as part of coming back to in person classes post COVID-19.

In 2021, Sodexo launched a $10 million scholarship with the help of the United Negro College Fund, giving it’s frontline employees and their dependents the ability to receive up to $12,000 for tuition, books and other expenses. The program is said to last until 2030.

In 2022, SodexoMAGIC partnered with food surplus management company Goodr to attempt to alleviate food insecurity and waste . An estimated 27.5 percent of households across the US deal with food insecurity and according to a 2021 study by Duke University, three-fourths of students at HBCUs had experienced food insecurity.

“God put me on this Earth to bring about change in our people so that’s what I am trying to do,” Johnson told the Spokesman.