One of the aspects of elitefts that I have always appreciated, even before having any involvement, is the company’s Live, Learn, and Pass On philosophy. From the terrific free daily content their website provides — Articles, Coaching Blogs, and Training Blogs (it’s all available if you merely look) to their customer service and the unmatched quality of their equipment, elitefts is a gritty and uncommon organization.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of hearing Earvin “Magic” Johnson speak at a leadership conference I attended with my work colleagues. Magic discussed his experiences in business and basketball and his pervasive passion for winning, regardless of the endeavor. If you are inclined to read on, I will share some of the thoughts Magic imparted during his impassioned presentation.

I have never been a huge NBA follower, but I have a great appreciation for what those athletes put out on the court on a nightly basis, plus being vertically challenged, I have always wondered what it feels like to dunk a basketball. That said, even as a casual hoops fan, growing up in the '80s, I was well acquainted with his on-court prowess and his historic rivalry with Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics, which some say saved the NBA via compelling on-court drama fostered through intense competition.

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Magic is a five-time NBA champion, three-time NBA MVP, 12-time All-Star, and an Olympic gold medalist. He is a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and is the president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired from basketball in 1991 after being diagnosed as HIV-positive, but instead of slowing down, he worked to become one of the most powerful African-American businessmen in the world. A philanthropist and a motivational speaker, the business mogul has successfully parlayed his court skills and tenacity into the business world, propelling his company to a top brand in urban America. Following his abrupt retirement in 1991, he founded the Magic Johnson Foundation to use his platform to educate the world about HIV.

Magic Johnson statue in Staples Center

alkanc ©

Magic is a larger-than-life presence; charismatic and approachable, it isn’t hard to see how he took his skills from the basketball court to the board room.

The Desire to Win

Magic insisted he was always a winner on the court, winning championships all through junior high school. He was a dominant player, once scoring 48 points in a game. He looked forward to playing at Sexton High School, a school with a very successful basketball team and history, but those plans underwent a dramatic change when he discovered he was going to be bussed to Everett High School in Lansing, Michigan, a school that was not noted for his basketball team.

He proactively reached out to the coach to obtain phone numbers for his prospective teammates. When the coach inquired as to why he needed the information, he said, “We are going to need to start practicing now, before school starts.”

As a 15-year-old sophomore at Everett High, his passing and ball-handling skills earned him the moniker “Magic,” following a triple-double of 36 points, 18 rebounds, and 16 assists, a sports writer for the Lansing State Journal coined the nickname.

In 1977, during his final high school season, Johnson led Everett to a 27–1 record while averaging 28.8 points and 16.8 rebounds per game. He also led Everett to an overtime victory in the state championship game. Johnson finished his high school career with two All-State selections, was considered at the time to be the best high school player ever to come out of Michigan. He was also named to the 1977 McDonald's All-American team.

I believe many of those who frequent elitefts display a similar desire to win, a desire to become better on the lifting platform, or a given field of play. We are continuously looking for ways to improve our training and any avenue to gain an edge on our competition or a way to hone our mindset or our technique to improve performance.

Positive Mindset | Postive Mental Focus

To play the sport of basketball at the highest level requires both a positive mindset and extreme mental focus. Although typically not viewed as a team sport, powerlifting requires a similar focus, as the athletes generally are moving maximal or near maximal poundage. Similarly, in both powerlifting and basketball, a positive mental mindset is required for success — you must believe you are going to make the shot; you must think you are going to complete the lift. In both sports, there is little room for self-doubt.

'The Legend Of Tarzan' Los Angeles Premiere

buzzfuss ©

Johnson worked to maintain a positive mindset and attitude to help his teammates and him achieve their respective goals. As a rookie in 1980, he would frequently arrive at practice several hours early to put in additional work. During the 1980 NBA Finals, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the team’s best player, suffered a sprained ankle and could not play. Before the game, Magic purposefully boarded the team plane early to ensure he could sit in the front seat typically reserved for Kareem. As his teammates entered the plane, to ease their distress over Kareem, he greeted them with a smile and the phrase, “Never fear, Magic is here.”

In place of his injured teammate, in game six of the series, Johnson, a rookie point guard, started at center. He scored forty-two points in the Championship-clinching victory against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Magic Johnson used his positive mindset and mental focus to earn the 1980 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award as a rookie on his way to becoming one of the most dominant and charismatic players in NBA history.

Know Your Market | Give Your Customers What They Want

While still playing with the Lakers, Johnson began considering life after basketball and started to devour content related to business. His first foray was a high-end sporting goods store that failed after its first year. However, the experience taught him to listen to his customers more closely to determine their exact wants.

The former athlete has become a leading voice on investing in urban communities. He creates redevelopment opportunities in underserved areas through his movie theaters and his partnership with Starbucks. Johnson demonstrated to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz that he could successfully open the coffee shops in urban areas and was able to purchase 125 stores.

In 1994, Johnson became a minority owner of the Lakers, and in 2012, Johnson, in partnership with Guggenheim Partners and Stan Kasten, was able to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With all these endeavors, Magic continues to help diverse and economically challenged communities through education and health support, feeling a profound responsibility to improve the lives of underserved minorities.

Live, Learn, and Pass On

Comparable to Magic Johnson’s business approach, elitefts has built its foundation on knowing its customer and what we want. During my many years of association with the company, I have been canvassed for my opinion many times. I have watched the company continue to refine their various product offerings, improving with each iteration. They have provided their sponsored athletes with products and product prototypes for testing, research, and continued development.

Dave Tate and Team elitefts feel a strong sense of responsibility to fulfill the training needs of their customers and for the overall betterment of the sport of powerlifting as well as the strength training required for success in all athletic endeavors.