Magic Johnson Offers Expertise to Solve High-Tech Diversity Gap

Magic Johnson Offers Expertise to Solve High-Tech Diversity Gap

The Hall of Fame basketball star suggested that major technology companies consult with his own company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, and others who specialize in targeting minority populations.

Published October 23, 2014

Magic Johnson is the latest Black celebrity looking to improve the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley.

At a recent conference hosted by software maker Intuit Inc., the retired Los Angeles Lakers superstar pointed major technology employers seeking to hire more Black and Latino talent to his own Beverly Hills, California-based company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, as a consultation resource.

"We have to make sure the Apples and Googles of the world get together with others who know what they are doing and who can make a difference, whether it's myself or somebody else," Johnson told AP.

"When you think about the leaders of these [technology] companies, they know they have to do something," Johnson said. "It's just a matter of understanding who to reach out to, who to partner with and then making sure that everybody wins. It's time to do it."

The findings in a company diversity report recently released by Intuit Inc. echoed the dismal numbers shared by its fellow technology giants. African-Americans represent only 4 percent of Intuit’s workforce, while only 2 percent of Google and Facebook’s staff is Black. According to AP, African-Americans make up 12 percent of the national workforce across all industries.

"We think it's important that our employee base reflects the customers we serve, and we aren't where we need to be," Intuit CEO Brad Smith said Wednesday. "Magic's offer? I won't be surprised if we take him up on it. He is clearly a brilliant man and he understands how to [diversify].”

Earlier this year, award-winning rapper Nas partnered with General Assembly to fund a technology scholarship supporting African-Americans and Latinos with intense web development courses.

Watch Kevin Hart in a new episode of Real Husbands of Hollywood every Tuesday, 10P/9C.

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 (Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Written by Patrice Peck

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