The former Los Angeles Lakers superstar said Wednesday that he and partner Ron Burkle have invested more than $10 million in the company, and are planning to make it the starter in a fledgling urban-media empire.

“This is just the beginning of what we’re going to start buying,” said 51-year-old Johnson, a three-time NBA Most Valuable Player, in an interview. “We’re looking to roll up other urban-based brands up under these three. We’re out there looking for deals as we speak.”

Johnson said that the Vibe business was running at about break even following a reorganization that began in 2009.

In June 2009, the hip-hop and urban culture magazine founded in 1993 by producer Quincy Jones shut down amid a sharp decline in advertising revenue. It was bought by private equity fund InterMedia Partners, which is still an investor, and saw its assets merged with Uptown, a lifestyle magazine for affluent African-Americans, and interactive sales firm Blackrock Digital.

Vibe Holdings now represents TV shows, publications and 25 websites such as, and that reach 19 million people a month.

Johnson said an equity fund he is invested in with Burkle’s The Yucaipa Cos. has $550 million to put into film and TV properties and other brands.

He said he plans to find a Saturday morning time slot to bring “Soul Train,” a syndicated variety show that ran from 1971 to 2006, back to TV. It is already making money from DVD box sets and on-demand orders of its 1,100 one-hour episodes.

“There’s a lot that’s going on in ‘Soul Train.’ We know that we can take it to a whole other level,” he said.