Today, we’re excited to welcome Basketball Hall of Famer, renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, to Cameo’s Board of Directors and talent roster. As the first-ever talent to sit on Cameo’s board, Magic will be a key player in helping us grow our business and diverse talent base on a global scale.
“Magic joining our Board of Directors is a perfect match and a full circle moment,” said Cameo Co-founder & CEO, Steven Galanis. “The idea behind Cameo — that the selfie is the new autograph — was partially inspired by a picture Magic took with me as a baby in Hawaii. Magic shares our team’s deep passion for building technology that can help talent of all backgrounds build their personal brands by creating deeper connections and magical moments with their fans. Magic’s presence will give a powerful voice to talent in the Cameo boardroom as we work together to fulfill our mission and vision.”
Having left the basketball court for the boardroom, Johnson has spent decades helping grow companies like Starbucks and Square, and sports franchises including the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Dodgers. His deep ties in athletics and entertainment will give a voice to talent as Cameo works toward our mission of creating the most personalized and authentic fan connections on earth.
“As a former athlete, I’ve experienced first-hand the challenges and opportunities in my journey to leverage my personal brand into businesses off the court — and that is why I support Cameo’s vision for the future of fan relationships that puts control in the talent’s hand,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson, chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises. “As the first-ever talent to join Cameo’s Board of Directors, I look forward to helping grow Cameo’s diverse talent base and thinking through new partnerships and opportunities to build the business globally. I’m also excited to personally connect with my fans in a whole new way — and have some fun while doing it.”
Johnson is active on Cameo starting today and available for fan bookings. He’ll be offering personalized video messages including birthday celebrations, pep talks, advice and even Father’s Day wishes just in time for the holiday weekend.
2020 was a year of massive growth for Cameo — we welcomed more than 10,000 new talent to the platform and began rolling out new products to help them connect with fans on a more personalized level, like Cameo Calls and Fan Clubs. Johnson joining our board is the next step in our mission to build a hall of fame company that’s transforming the future of entertainment and fan connections.
Read More : Why I’m excited for Gerard Gallant and you should be too
Like the beckoning of spring training in late January, the hiring of a new coach in the NHL is a time for optimism. The tantalizing prospect of a clean slate for every single player on the roster allows fans and prognosticators alike to project their best-case scenarios.
Late on Monday afternoon, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported the hiring of Gerard Gallant as the 36th coach in franchise history. The former power forward brings nine years of experience at the NHL level as a head coach with a record of 270–216–6 to the Garden.
The average shelf life for an NHL coach checks in at about 3.5 seasons or so, so it was about time for the New York Rangers to move on from David Quinn. After a roller-coaster season in a pandemic, the organization was left with more questions than answers about its current collection of talent. A season of turmoil under Quinn left a picture of individuals, not a team. I mean, after all, the locker room was so tense that goaltender Alexandar Georgiev punched Tony DeAngelo in the face after a snide comment and a tough loss.
Then, at the deadline, the organization traded forward Brendan Lemieux to the Los Angeles Kings, for reasons that still aren’t public. Throw in Lias Andersson’s accusations of the organization mishandling a bullying situation in 2019 and it’s clear there were behind the scenes issues with the team.
Since their failure to resemble an NHL playoff team in the Toronto bubble in the summer of 2020, I was pretty convinced Quinn was in over his head. Everything that went on behind the scenes only validated my opinion that he wasn’t ready for the challenges of the NHL.
A guy’s guy
Gallant played parts of 11 seasons starting in the mid-80s. In his day, Gallant was a pretty talented forward who recorded some pretty solid point totals. The most common description of the former Golden Knights’ coach is “player’s coach.”
Meaning that he’s going to be on the player’s side, go to bat for them with the media and try to draw attention towards himself. In the coaching landscape, it’s natural for organizations to alternate between authoritarian and someone of Gallant’s style.
Both push for different styles of hockey and garner different reactions from the players. Gallant isn’t going to be confused for a master tactician with a supreme understanding of Xs and Os. But, he’s known for inspiring confidence in his players. On an episode of Elliotte Friedman’s “31 Thoughts: The Podcast,” he told an anecdote from Gallant’s time in Florida from the perspective of a fringe NHL player.
“At one point during a stoppage late in the third period of a tie game, Gallant goes over to the player and says [if I were a better coach you’d be in this game].”
That type of reassurance goes a long way in fostering a healthy relationship between players and coaches. After how the 2021 season went, this Rangers team could use a coach who’s going to build them up instead of critiquing the team’s game constantly.
Attacking and offense
If the Rangers’ window of opportunity is going to be realized with this group of talent, it will start in the offensive end of the rink. For all of the promising talent on the blue line and of Igor Shesterkin in the net, a Stanley Cup is won putting the puck in the other team’s net.
In Gallant’s previous stops: Columbus 2003–2007, Florida 2014–2017 and Vegas 2018–2020, he’s shown a willingness to play young players heavy minutes. In 2003–2004, 19-year-old Rick Nash averaged the second most time on ice of any forward on the team. In 2014–2015, 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov averaged the most time on ice of any forward on the team.
Granted, those three stops were different than New York in terms of expectations.
There is a legitimate playoff mandate coming from Rangers’ owner James Dolan. Whether or not you feel like that’s a reasonable expectation is beside the point, the owner empowered GM Chris Drury to find a coach to tap into the team’s considerable base of talent.
Yes, the 2021 Rangers had injury problems, with the five weeks without Filip Chytil centering the third line standing out in particular. For the Rangers to make any real progress this year, it will require ironing out the bugs within the team's offense.
Back in May, I wrote about the team’s offense drying up and theories as to why it couldn’t score. To me, it seemed like a case of the team conceding offense to not give up anything on defense. The Rangers averaged several fewer scoring chances against per game than the prior year, but two fewer scoring chances for.
In addition to fewer offensive chances per game, the Rangers were also not getting the puck to as dangerous areas on the ice.