Lakers’ Magic Johnson celebrates new tech lab with Crenshaw students

Team’s president of basketball operations visits a high-tech learning space funded partly by the significant donations from the Lakers and their sponsor.

One of Los Angeles’ great game-changers was in attendance at Crenshaw High School on Wednesday morning, checking in on what the city’s innovators of the future are up to.
The students in Mr. Abe Abraham’s STEMM (Science Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine) and Robotics Lab were happy to share their work with Magic Johnson and the other dignitaries who visited, a crowd that included Rep. Maxine Waters and several L.A. Unified School District leaders.

Students showed off a trio of cellphone-controlled robots they’d named Mantis, the Cat and WALL-E; a website prototype for a custom-designed shoe company and a program posing Lakers trivia.

Their work was made possible, in part, by “significant” funding through a partnership with the school, the Lakers, the Lakers Youth Foundation and WISH, the online e-commerce company that sponsors the team, said Allison Howard, vice president of Corporate Partnerships at the Lakers.

Johnson was moved to tears by the early results on the investment.

“This is so important,” the Hall of Famer and Lakers president of basketball operations told reporters after he’d toured the room, where 20 computers line the walls beneath Lakers murals and a collection of iPads are stored in a wagon resembling an ice cream pushcart that’s decorated with team and WISH logos.

“To see these young people and how important it is to have this STEMM lab here, to see them create these robots and do the things they need to do to be successful in life is all well worth it,” said Johnson, his eyes welling as he spoke.

“I want to thank Jeanie Buss and all our partners because this is what life is about … this is a blessing from God. (It’s) bigger than the Lakers season, bigger than Lakers players, this is life here, this is what we should be about.”

Adams, who has been teaching computer programming at the school for 23 years, said he believes computer education is the most important subject students can study: “Computer literacy is everything in the 21st century; anything you want to do involves computers.” #SPMGMedia

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