Magic Johnson Leaving ESPN

Magic Johnson Leaving ESPN; Is Bill

Former NBA will no longer contribute to network's basketball coverage, effective immediately

Earvin “Magic” Johnson announced on Thursday that he’ll no longer be part of ESPN’s NBA coverage because of other commitments.

Johnson joined the network in 2008 and appeared on ESPN and ABC as a studio and game analyst.

“I love ESPN. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my schedule and other commitments, I don’t feel confident that I can continue to devote the time needed to thrive in my role,” Johnson said in a statement. “I will always feel a strong connection to the ESPN family and I enjoyed working with them very much.”

Deadspin reported on Thursday that Johnson had become frustrated that ESPN’s Bill Simmons had taken control of the show over the past year.

“It’s Simmons’s show now,” one ESPN source told the site.

Simmons, who also serves as the editor-in-chief of Grantland, joined ESPN’s TV coverage in 2012 and just so happens to be a Boston native and vocal opponent of Johnson’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I feel like the biggest problem the show has had over the past couple of years is that everyone was hanging on Magic’s every word,” Simmons said in an interview last year in Entertainment Weekly. “Nobody was challenging him.”

Johnson, an active businessman since retiring in 1991, is part of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group and also operates a production company, in addition to owning several movie theaters and restaurants.

ESPN recently hired former 76ers coach and former NBC commentator Doug Collins to join the network’s basketball coverage. Doris Burke, another ESPN vet, will also contribute to “NBA Countdown.”

ESPN declined to comment on the Deadpsin report.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 4

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Dee Thompson says:

    Magic Johnson’s departure from ESPN—Whatever the reason, equals sad day for basketball.

  2. D'Avid Koppelfield says:

    He’s not Magic anymore! He’s more like Ervin Don Johnsons Millhouse IV…

  3. kenmandu says:

    Magic vs this midget — no contest! Back to Beantown for this mini-blowhard.

  4. MJ says:

    Bill Simmons is really an egotistical Mr. know it all and it would be nice if he was the one to leave..

More TV News from Variety