Keyon Addison opens mouth, nabs Magic Johnson as mentor
MAY 30, 2014 3:53p ET
Before he heads off to Ferris State late this summer on a football scholarship, Keyon Addison has to take care of a little business first.
It's the opportunity of a lifetime for the Saginaw High two-sport standout.
Several weeks ago, Addison attended a fundraiser in which basketball Hall of Famer/business entrepreneur Magic Johnson was the main attraction.
It was the second time in the last year that Addison had heard Johnson speak. He recalled the stories that Magic previously told about growing up in Lansing.
"I thought they were similar to where I'm at in Saginaw," Addison said.
So when Johnson opened the floor this time for questions from the audience, Addison didn't hesitate. He wanted to know from Magic what it took to be successful in the business world.
It was a generic question and Johnson responded with a mostly predictable answer. He told Addison to work hard, go to class and keep asking questions.
“My mother always told me, 'A closed mouth doesn't get fed.'”
Magic, however, also told him to "get a mentor."
Johnson went on to say that he had "picked the brains of really wealthy people" before making the transition from basketball to business.
Addison had one follow-up for him. He asked Johnson if he would be his mentor.
Bold? Yes, but brilliantly bold.
Johnson immediately accepted. One of his business mottos is: "It's not whether you can become successful ... it's how many people can you help become successful."
Magic went so far as to promise to fly Addison to Los Angeles to get an up-close view of his many business ventures, including part-ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"That was mind-blowing," Addison said. "I didn't expect him to go that far. I thought he'd give me a few pointers.
"I didn't mean to be bold. It just happened. It was just the moment. I'm not really a bold person. Some people say I'm shy.
"But my mother always told me, 'A closed mouth doesn't get fed.'"
Addison graduates from high school next Thursday. Johnson's representatives have asked for his contact information and are expected to set up the dates for the trip soon thereafter.
"It should happen this summer," Addison said. "I really have to take advantage of it. I want to do everything right.
"Hopefully, I'll learn about a lot of things I can bring back to help me in the future to build a business after college, learn what it takes to be successful."
Addison said he also wants to use this opportunity to help pay back other young people in his community in the future.
"It's rare you see people come back to help," he said. "I would love to come back one day and help."
Addison, who said he currently plans to study biochemistry at Ferris, calls himself a "good student," not great.
"Used to be an A student, now a high B," he said.
He played running back on his high-school football team for four years and point guard on the basketball team the last three.
At 6-foot, 175 pounds, Addison could be moved to cornerback and/or slot receiver to start his college career.
He's witnessed his share of rough times for his hometown over 18 years.
"There's a lot of violence," Addison said. "A lot of people don't make it out."
He is adamant that he will be one of Saginaw's success stories in the end.
"I have no doubt," Addison said. "I'm not the best athlete, not the best student. But I listen to what people have to say. That's helped me get through a lot of things."
He also knows how to ask the right things to the right people. He opened his mouth, and as his mom told him years ago, now he's getting fed.