Perhaps no current or former NBA player has had more success in their career off the floor than Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson.
In addition to owning businesses and being an entrepreneur, Johnson has also remained involved in sports by being a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as coaching in the Lakers organization. Most recently, Johnson also took on a front-office role as president of basketball operations of the Lakers before stepping down at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
While Johnson’s tenure as leader of the front office was mostly criticized, he did have some success, namely luring the best player in the NBA, LeBron James, to the Lakers.
The reason Johnson gave for stepping down was that he wanted to be able to say whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, which is a luxury he didn’t have as an executive as he was fined for tampering on numerous occasions.
It appears Johnson is getting back to what he wants as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reportedly wants to team up with him to host NBA Countdown on ESPN before games this upcoming season, via Andrew Marchand of the New York Post:
These days, what Stephen A. Smith wants at ESPN, Stephen A. gets.
Next up, Magic Johnson.
Smith wants to team up with Johnson, possibly on “NBA Countdown,” the pregame show that leads into the NBA Finals and other marquee games, according to sources.
Smith’s ideal setup would be to have a Big 3 that also includes “Pardon the Interruption” co-host Michael Wilbon, who often works alongside Smith on “SportsCenter.”
Nothing is finalized, so it hasn’t been determined whether the potential show would have a traditional host.
ESPN’s NBA lineup is undergoing a complete makeover this summer as first Maria Taylor left the company for NBC and then Rachel Nichols’ ‘The Jump’ was cancelled with her no longer with the company either.
Johnson has hosted NBA Countdown alongside Smith and Michael Wilbon before and as previously mentioned, Johnson has been looking for an avenue to speak his mind on NBA topics, which this would provide him.
Lakers given 42 national TV games in 2021-22
The complete schedule for the 2021-22 NBA season was recently released and the Lakers were given a league-high 42 national TV games.
If Johnson does accept the job at ESPN then that would give him plenty of opportunities to talk Lakers before, during and after games.
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