Magic Johnson has been a major part of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise both on and off the floor for the last 40-plus years.
Johnson won five NBA titles during his time with the Lakers, collecting three MVP titles along the way. He spent 13 years in L.A., headlining the great Showtime era alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and others.
Years after finishing his NBA career, Johnson took charge of the Lakers’ front office, becoming its president of basketball operations. He built the foundations for the current Los Angeles dynasty, signing LeBron James and setting a target on then-New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis during his time in office.
The history of the Lakers organizations — as well as the NBA’s — cannot be told without an extensive recognition of Johnson’s greatness and colorful character. An Apple TV+ documentary will try to encapsulate his legacy in a new docuseries, per The L.A. Times’ Tracy Brown:
A new documentary series about the life and career of Lakers great Earvin “Magic” Johnson is headed to Apple TV+.
Announced Thursday, the four-part docuseries chronicles the two-time NBA Hall of Famer’s accomplishments on and off the court. Directed by Rick Famuyiwa (“Dope”), the series will trace Johnson’s upbringing in Lansing, Mich., through his championship career with the L.A. Lakers as well as his HIV/AIDS activism.
The docuseries will reportedly show exclusive footage and interviews with Johnson and those who know him.
The project appears to be a significant undertaking as editor Dirk Westervelt — known for his work on “Ford v. Ferrari” — and cinematographer Rachel Morrison — who was involved in the production of “Black Panther” — are said to be part of the production team.
In 2020, the documentary’s producers said they had been granted “unprecedented access” to Johnson.
Johnson initially wanted to stay with Lakers for just three years
Just as deep Johnson’s ties to the Lakers franchise run, his relationship with governor Jeanie Buss dates a long way back. Buss and Johnson have been through ups and downs, as shown by the now-62-year-old NBA legend’s unexpected departure from the organization’s front office in 2019.
The Lakers governor recently told the story of her shocking first meeting with the would-be NBA star shortly after he was drafted by the team in 1979. Johnson told Jeanie he wanted to remain on L.A.’s roster for three years before returning to his home state of Michigan to play for the Detroit Pistons.
However, her father and the then-Lakers owner, the late Dr. Jerry Buss, reassured Jeanie that once Johnson put on his purple and gold uniform, he wouldn’t want to leave the franchise.
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