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“As soon as you hear the name Magic Johnson, it turns into a positive,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “There’s positive energy around the ball club, around the city.”

Johnson’s group didn’t comment Wednesday, but he said after their winning bid was announced that he was thrilled to be part of the franchise “as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles.”

Johnson’s business acumen is equal to his success on the court. The 52-year-old Hall of Fame guard won championships at Everett High in Lansing, Mich., at Michigan State and five NBA titles with the Lakers.

After being forced to retire suddenly in 1991 with HIV, Johnson remade himself into a successful entrepreneur and became a respected voice as an HIV activist and campaigned to educate people about the disease.

Johnson is well-known for his self-named nationwide chain of movie theaters, movie studio, and promotion company. He previously owned more than 100 Starbucks franchises and had a minority ownership in the Lakers. His other ventures include commercial real estate and health clubs.

Magic Johnson is probably the most beloved sports figure in Los Angeles history,” Lakers owner Jerry Buss said. “He has been a success in everything else he’s become involved with, most notably his spectacular business career and also his educational campaign on behalf of HIV awareness.”

Johnson’s reputation as a winner in sports and business lends a new air of credibility to the Dodgers, who saw attendance plummet below 3 million in McCourt’s final season when fans bashed his stewardship of the team.

“I think they’ll be able to fill the stadium just because of Magic,” said Mike Baldwin, a longtime fan who quit going to games after McCourt bought the team in 2003. “I don’t think baseball could have done a better job than to pull him in.”

Johnson’s partners in buying the Dodgers include Stan Kasten, former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals; and Peter Guber, a longtime Hollywood executive and co-owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the Chicago-based financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, would be the controlling owner. Kasten would be the top day-to-day executive. The group’s other investors include Guggenheim Partners President Todd Boehly and Bobby Patton, whose investments include oil and gas properties.

When baseball’s ownership committee considered the bids, there initially were four votes against Johnson’s group, a person familiar with baseball’s deliberations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the details were not made public. Those owners were concerned about the financing of the group, with money coming from insurance funds at Guggenheim.

During the conference call of all teams Tuesday, there was concern expressed about whether the auction process was being run properly. Farnan got on that call and persuaded them to approve all three finalists, saying he would be at the final auction and make sure it was run correctly. Following that, all three groups were approved unanimously.

The process never reached a Wednesday auction, given the Johnson group’s bid.

Other finalists were groups headed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Steven Cohen of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors. Cohen’s bid at the time of the MLB teleconference Tuesday was $1.3 billion, the person familiar with baseball’s deliberations said. Kroenke was at $1.5 billion.

While others are putting far more money into the winning group, Johnson’s name and smile are what lit up fans’ moods in the city where he remains the most enduring and beloved sports superstar.

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