LOS ANGELES — Basketball great-turned-entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced Tuesday that he is endorsing City Atty. James Hahn in the race for mayor of Los Angeles.
"As city attorney, Jim [Hahn] has established programs that not only fight crime but empower neighborhoods so they have the tools to make their streets safer and the community stronger," Johnson said.
Johnson, who helped the Los Angeles Lakers win five championships, also has become a success in business and an increasingly visible presence in civic life.
Johnson's endorsement adds to a growing list of African American supporters of Hahn, whose strong base among black voters is partly attributable to his father's long representation of South Central, first on the Los Angeles City Council and later as a county supervisor.
Although that legacy has given Hahn a strong base to build upon in the mayor's race, his challengers are working to whittle it away. Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa has been particularly aggressive in courting support among African Americans.
The other leading candidates in the mayor's race so far are U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra, City Councilman Joel Wachs and commercial real estate broker Steve Soboroff. State Controller Kathleen Connell is expected to join the race.
Election Day in the mayor's race is next April.