Earvin "Magic" Johnson Launches ASPiRE Television Network With a Gala in New York

This June 27, 2012 photo released by Starpix shows former NBA basketball player Earvin "Magic" Johnson during the launch of the Aspire Television Network in New York. Aspire, which signed on during the ceremony, is led by Johnson in partnership with family-oriented channel GMC TV, and will dedicate itself to enlightening and positive programming aimed at black families. It will air movies, documentaries, music and comedy, as well as faith and inspirational programs. (AMANDA SCHWAB/The Associated Press)

AMANDA SCHWAB/The Associated Press

Basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson on Wednesday launched his new cable television network, Aspire, focused on African-American programming.  Atlanta-based Aspire is distributed to customers on Comcast cable system's digital basic level. A last-minute agreement added Time Warner to the systems that can carry the network.

According to its website, the network was designed to deliver "enlightening, entertaining and positive programming to African-American families" and will feature African-American heritage and cultural achievements..

The new network is not currently available for Time Warner customers in Nebraska. Aspire initially launches in Time Warner's New York City system. "We will launch in additional markets in coming months," spokesman Dave Borchardt said.

Aspire's principal owner is Magic Johnson Enterprises, with Johnson the network's chairman and chief executive.

In a separate deal, Johnson said he is partnering with OneWest Bank FSB to launch the Magic card, a reloadable prepaid Mastercard. The card, aimed at people who do not have traditional bank deposit accounts, will be available nationally at OnlyMagicCard.com.

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