The former Laker has reached an agreement to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt for $2 billion, according to the Associated Press. He becomes the first Black owner in the history of the sport.
“I am thrilled to be a part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles,” he said in a statement.
Johnson, along with baseball executive Stan Kasten and the Guggenheim Baseball Management, secured the deal Tuesday that surpasses the record for sports franchises. The AP reports Stephen Ross paid $1.1 billion for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2009 and England’s Malcolm Glazer acquired the Manchester United soccer club in 2005 for $1.4 billion.
The deal is subject to approval in federal bankruptcy court and involves several other investors.
Johnson’s purchase of the Dodgers comes full circle. In 1947, the team (formerly the Brooklyn Dodgers) recruited Jackie Robinson as the first Black MLB player of the modern era.
When asked about Johnson’s historic acquisition, fellow Laker Kobe Bryant seemed a little “hurt.”
“I’m upset he didn’t cut me in,” he said after his 104-101 win over Golden State Tuesday night. “I’m going to have to talk to him about that.”
In February, Johnson announced his plans to launch Aspire, a 24-hour channel with a focus on positive, uplifting images of African-Americans. The network is scheduled to premiere June 30.