The Magic of a Yellow T-Shirt

Kent & Magic

I have told this story a hundred times already, but am finally getting it posted more than a year later.  I must admit my Mario Andretti experience from a previous post runs neck and neck with this one at the top of my ‘brush with fame’ list, but both events were very cool.   In April 2016 I  got a selfie with Magic Johnson at the 2016 Ellucian Live conference in Denver, CO.  Below are the events leading up to this ‘magical’ moment. 

It was a lot of fun There were 8500+ people in the room so what are the odds that I would be one of the four people to get a selfie w/ Magic. I suppose it increased my odds when I sat in the front row and wore a Laker shirt. There were 8499 suits, ties and jackets in the rooms so I guess the one dude in the bright Laker shirt stood out. His keynote was pretty awesome as well! A side of Magic Johnson and his work that I never knew about. It was sincere and transformative (Learn more about the Magic Johnson Foundation here). Magic had hopped off the stage and was telling the story of his various educational ventures, taking selfies with people and being the personable guy that he is.   He made the rounds and came up the aisle behind me toward the end of his keynote address.  He walked right by me and takes a left back toward the center the auditorium.  Suddenly he stops turns around and looks at me and says,

I’m gonna get a picture with the guy in the Laker shirt (aka me)

It was wild after the selfie as I walked through the hoards of Ellucian Live attendees.  People were high fiving me, saying, “hey there is the Laker guy” “I wish I had a selfie with Magic” etc. I have also included in the pictures below a twitter screen shot that cracks me up. My 15 minutes of fame I suppose. Oh and yes after getting a picture with Magic there were some very exciting sessions throughout the rest of the day…Nothing else even close.

The story of the Laker shirt I am wearing makes the Magic selfie even better. I am not really a Laker fan, however, we had a meeting with all of our college CIOs and Presidents scheduled during the Magic Johnson keynote on Monday morning. I whined a lot about missing the keynote because of the meeting so I bought the Laker shirt, which I was going to wear as a protest at our scheduled meeting. I mean how often do you get to hear a Magic Johnson Keynote address.  As it turned out with all of the snow and travel cancellations for the eLive 2016 conference we had only had 1 of 7 presidents who ended up coming. The meeting went on but I went to the keynote and got my picture taken with Magic!!!!!!

The final picture in the album is a doctored/ photoshopped picture of Larry Bird, was shown earlier today (the second day of this conference) and is really pretty funny. Here is the story…. This tech conference is sponsored by our tech vendor which doesn’t humor me often. However, as a followup to the Magic selfies they were actually pretty funny and pulled one on us this morning. They started by apologizing for a wireless outage yesterday and stated that they had an unauthorized entry to one of their data centers and someone actually unplugged some of their wireless equipment. They said ironically the equipment was housed in a data center they were leasing from Magic Johnson Enterprises However, they reported that their surveillance cameras had captured the following picture during our keynote yesterday……Yes they briefly diverted our attention from the fact that their wireless was terrible yesterday and still is today.  

What did I learn from all of this?   There is probably a marketing lesson in this one about standing out from the crowd. I will leave that one to someone else.  I learned Magic is doing some amazing work in the educational realm and that it pays to wear a bright yellow Laker shirt (even if you are not really a Laker’s fan) when the other 8499 people are wearing dark colored jackets and suits!!!!

The Keynote the day after Magic was great as well. 

Today’s keynote by Deng Adut was pretty amazing. This session reaffirms that I have lived a sheltered life, including growing up in Baca County, which I often take for granted. Adut is from the Sudan, was smuggled out to Australia by his brother and taught himself to read using the Bible and is now an attorney In Sydney Australia donating much of his time to refugee issues. Here are a few key quotes from the session but the final quote I think applies the most to what we are doing with many of the historical Baca County stories and pictures.

“I am product of war. I was a child soldier. I was shot 4 times. My brother smuggled me out of the Sudan”

“So many died to help me. When I walk out of here I feel I owe a debt to society”

The knowledge you gain from your ancestors and your education is not yours, It is societies and you must pass it on”

Here is a link to a video with more detail about his life.