LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 23: Magic Johnson, president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers shares a laugh with the media during a press conference on June 23, 2017 at the team training faculity in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

NBA legend, entrepreneur and hall of famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson threw the first pitch at the opening day game for the Gastonia Honey Hunters.

The Honey Hunters, the newest team in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB), kicked off its inaugural opening weekend on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 6 p.m.

The team took field led by Team Manager Mauro “Goose” Gozzo against the Lancaster Barnstormers.

The season began with Johnson throwing the first pitch commencing at 6:50 p.m. at CaroMont Health Park.

Other people joining Johnson in the opening day ceremony were:

  • Walker R. Reid, III, Mayor of Gastonia
  • Chris Peek, President & CEO, CaroMont Health
  • Brandon Bellamy, CEO, The Velocity Companies/Team Owner, Gastonia Honey Hunters

During his 13-year hall of fame NBA career, Johnson led the Los Angeles Lakers to nine NBA Finals appearances, including five NBA championships in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988. His first championship came in his rookie season, and he was the first rookie to win the NBA finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. He was also named the league MVP in 1987, 1989, and 1990.

Johnson is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises and the co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Football Club and eSports franchise Team Liquid.

He also has controlling interests in EquiTrust, a $20 billion financial services company, and SodexoMAGIC, a food service and facilities management company.

On Wednesday, the Honey Hunters announced their first-ever team roster, including 14 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders, and four outfielders.