Magic Johnson launches program for at-risk kids

CHICAGO (AP) — Earvin “Magic” Johnson is getting a little help from Chicago rapper Common for his newest off-court endeavor.

The former NBA star launched his “Friends of Magic” initiative Wednesday. The idea is to help at-risk students, including dropouts, graduate from high school.

Johnson, Common and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn attended the event at Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy in Chicago, an education facility backed in part by Johnson’s business enterprises.

An emotional Johnson spoke after listening to one of the students who has had success in the academy’s education programs.

Wiping away tears, Johnson said he’s trying to give back and felt gratified by his organization’s work. Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy contracts with Chicago Public Schools to help dropouts.

Common is a Grammy-winning artist and actor.

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