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Magic Johnson resigns from Square's board of directors

After joining the board for less than a year ago, Johnson is stepping down to focus on a venture to tackle US infrastructure upgrades.

Earvin 'Magic' Johnson Jr. joined Square's board last summer.

Kris Connor, Getty Images

NBA hall of famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr., who made millions in business after his basketball career, has resigned from the board of directors of mobile payments company Square, leaving less than a year after he joined.

Johnson has been raising capital for a new venture focused on US infrastructure upgrades. He funded the company more quickly than he thought he would, requiring him to devote more time to it, according to a letter resignation letter he sent to CEO Jack Dorsey this week.

"Initially, I thought it would take some time to raise capital; however, my team and I were fortunate that the first investor we approached invested $1 billion," Johnson wrote. "Within the 1st quarter of 2016, we have over $1.3 billion in our newly formed fund that will require a significant and unwavering time commitment from me as I work to secure contracts around the country."

In a statement, Dorsey said of Johnson's departure: "Earvin's passion for and commitment to creating economic opportunity will continue to inspire our work. I am thankful for his time on our Board and wish him success on his new projects."

Paul Deighton, the former Goldman Sachs partner and Commercial Secretary to the Treasury of the United Kingdom, takes Johnson's place on the board.

Johnson, a five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s, is regarded for his astute business acumen. He's the CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), a billion-dollar corporation he started nearly three decades ago while still playing ball.

The basketball legend has owned movie theaters nationwide and more than 100 Starbucks Coffee franchises, as well as a minority stake in the Lakers. Johnson sold his interests in Starbucks and the Lakers, though he still has a prominent presence with the team, in 2010 for a reported $100 million. Johnson's other business interests include real estate, a TV network, a program that helps high schoolers get diplomas and providing health care for HIV/AIDS patients. (Johnson was diagnosed with HIV in 1991.)

In 2012, Johnson and the investment firm Guggenheim Partners bought the storied Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and other team-related entities for a record $2.15 billion, the most for a North American sports franchise. He also owns a stake in the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks and a new Major League Soccer team also based in LA

Updated at 11:45 a.m. PT: with further information about Johnson.