By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The legendary EBONY magazine is being revived.
Former NBA star Junior Bridgeman reportedly has anted-up $14 million for the famed Black media publication.
The magazine, which was founded by John H. Johnson in 1945, was forced into bankruptcy earlier this year after an attempt to revive EBONY failed. EBONY sold its photo archive for $30 million last year, and Willard Jackson briefly took over as CEO but left the company soon after.
“EBONY kind of stood for Black excellence, showing people doing positive things that could benefit everyone,” Bridgeman said, according to Black Enterprise. “It just made you feel good.”
Bridgeman has a history of business success, Black Enterprise reported.
As the CEO of Manna Inc., the holding company for his franchise empire of quick-service restaurants, he is a longtime member of the [Black Enterprise] 100s.
According to the Michigan Chronicle, Bridgeman, who played for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers, was once featured on a 2016 Forbes top-paid athletes list.
He is the CEO of a Coca-Cola bottling company and part-owner of Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited.
The former athlete attempted to purchase Sports Illustrated in 2018 but eventually withdrew his bid a year later.
According to BlackPast.org, EBONY earned fame by honoring Black identity, portraying Black life, refuting stereotypes and inspiring readers to overcome racial and other barriers to success.
Johnson began his career with Negro Digest in 1942 and started EBONY three years later.
Both magazines were so successful that in 1972 the Magazine Publishers Association selected Johnson “Magazine Publisher of the Year.”
EBONY occasionally presented works by well-established literary figures such as Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks.
It frequently published special issues, such as the 1963 hundredth year commemoration of the Emancipation Proclamation, that highlighted issues deemed particularly relevant to African Americans.
EBONY first featured articles about notable African Americans such as celebrities and sports figures, and during the late 1950s ran Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s column, “Advice for Living By.”
By the 1960s, articles supporting civil rights appeared as the magazine provided reliable coverage of the civil rights movement as it unfolded across the United States.
EBONY also discussed the increasing opportunities for African Americans, suggested ways to overcome obstacles and encouraged the Black community to exhibit racial pride.
“When you look at EBONY, you look at the history not just for Black people, but of the United States,” Bridgeman said. “I think it’s something that a generation is missing, and we want to bring that back as much as we can.”