BASN Classic BlackBox: The $15,000 Bet That Paid Off Big Time

Updated: December 18, 2007

A BASN Classic BlackBox Originally Published: May 09, 2004 THE $15,000 BET THAT PAID OFF BIG TIME

Robert Johnson THE FULL STORY

Anytime anyone Discounts the Black marketplace remind them of the story of Robert Johnson. That is just what author Brett Pulley does in his new book. Sure we’ve covered Johnson before. As the richest African American in U.S. history he will always draw Ink. But this book takes it to another level. Telling his story in more detail. For the record.

If you were as Smart as Robert Johnson when still in his 30s – sorry you aren’t – but if you were you would not have hesitated to take a $15,000 loan in 1980 to start Black Entertainment Television. Johnson did and it made him a Billionaire when he sold this empire to Sumner Redstone and the Viacom juggernaut for $3billion less than 20 years later.

The Slam on Johnson is that he produced mostly low budget low quality fare at BET and much worse that he “sold out” the only large scale Black controlled media property in America to the white guys. Yes here in the 21st century still basically everything Black is still white controlled even when it doesn’t start out that way.

Here is a likely Johnson response. I’m not a martyr or a savior. I’m a successful African American businessman. There would be nothing but compliments for a white business person who turned a $15,000 investment into a $3Billion success story. An what exactly is wrong with being the richest Black person in America and the only Black Billionaire. Before my divorce anyway.

Besides Johnson hasn’t taken his money and run for his yacht and his mansion. No he is actively assaulting another Bastion of white power the ownership of major sports franchises. He has taken some of his Dough and bought the new NBA franchise the Charlotte Bobcats. Thus becoming the first Black owner of a major pro team.

Johnson is just as vigorously trying to get an MLB franchise. Hoping to nail a Deal to take the Montreal Expos to either Washington, DC or Virginia under his ownership. That Deal may or may not happen.

If not you have to suspect he just might turn his sights on the Big One an NFL franchise. That would be the biggest challenge and most difficult goal to reach. At least he has the money he needs to play as a result of the sale of BET where he still remains in charge. Sort of.

Of course Johnson could also have kept BET and used its size and clout to go after pro franchises. Murdoch, Disney and others have done just that in owning sports franchises and there are other examples worldwide.

Anyway. Anyway you slice it Robert Johnson is the biggest success story out there. And others will always second guess success. No matter at 55, Johnson is a power broker and a power house with many years ahead of him that give every indication of leading to even more and bigger Successes.

Before it’s all over he may well own NBA, MLB and NFL franchises. He could become the first person Black or white to do that

Whatever is still to become of Robert Johnson. What he is today, where he came from and how he got to the here and now can all be found in Brett Pulley’s all encompassing book about Johnson’s life.

Read all about it.

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