Tag:Magic Johnson
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:38 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 5:58 am

Kobe, Magic say it's time for Buss to meet Bryant

Kobe Bryant says he and Jim Buss should meet; Magic Johnson agrees (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Just days after Kobe Bryant challenged the Lakers' front office to make a desision regarding Pau Gasol and Ken Berger of CBSports.com filed a scathing and revealing report on the inner dysfunction of the team's front office, Bryant told reporters that he and Jim Buss should meet for a conversation. And he wasn't the only Laker great to suggest the idea.

On a conference call Wednesday, Magic Johnson told reporters that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is "not running the team" anymore and that Jim Buss is making all the decisions. Johnson, who is as close to the Lakers organization as anyone, considering he has a statue outside their building, said that the answer was for Bryant and Buss to sit down and have a conversation. From the L.A. Daily News:
"(Bryant) just wants to be informed as a team leader and a future Hall of Famer and a guy who has brought five chapmionships to the Lakers," Johnson said. "He wants more communication, probably like he did when Phil Jackson was here and he worked well with Mitch. I don't think Kobe feels he has that type of relationship with Jim.

"What probably has to happen is they need to sit Kobe down and sit Jim down. Dr. Buss was the master at taking you to lunch or taking you to dinner and going over what he was thinking and what he wanted to do with the team.

"Jerry West was good at that as well. Kobe, Mitch and Jim just have to get on the same page and things will be OK."
via Magic: Bryant, Jim Buss need to have face-to-face chat - LA Daily News.

After the Lakers shootaround, Bryant told reporters when asked if it was time for he and the younger Buss to sit down and have a conversation, "Um, perhaps." That was all, but that one word speaks volumes. If it was no, he could have said "I don't know" or "I'm just a player" or even "I'd be open to it." But that's not it. It's Bryant trying to push for change in the organization, to right the ship. This team isn't over, it's not done, it's not through trying to win championships and still features three great players and one or two good players. Bryant's not willing to sit by and let this situation get out of control.

Meanwhile, Magic Johnson is sticking up for the franchise player, going with the star trying to make the most of the end of his career instead of the son of his long-time friend and employer Jerry Buss. (Read the excellent "When the Game Was Ours" by Jakcie McMullen for more on Magic and Buss' friendship.) It's incredible that not only is Bryant openly questioning management, but that the greatest player in franchise history has openly said the GM is not in charge and that the managing owner needs to communicate better with his team. This kind of thing simply doesn't happen. And yet here we are.

The Lakers held a players-oly meeting this week to try and focus past all the distractions and it worked in a blowout win over Portland. As of this writing, they lead the Mavericks by 12 in the second quarter Wednesday night. So the players are doing their part to work past the issues. Will the front office?

Strange days for the most successful franchise in the NBA.
Posted on: January 24, 2012 5:20 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 9:13 pm

Magic Johnson, Mark Cuban bid for Dodgers

Posted by Ben Golliver

The Lakers legend has reportedly bid on the Dodgers (Getty Images)
The only thing longer and more boring than the NBA lockout is the ongoing sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Good news: the deadline to submit bids finally passed so we just took a major step closer to the finish line.

The Los Angeles Times reports that two major figures in professional basketball -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson -- were among the "more than 10" bidders.
Outgoing owner Frank McCourt expects the Dodgers to sell for at least $1.5 billion.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban submitted a bid by Monday's deadline, as did East Coast hedge fund giant Steven Cohen and former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley.

Several groups also turned in bids, including those involving Magic Johnson and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten; Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso and former Dodgers manager Joe Torre; Los Angeles investor Stanley Gold and the family of the late Roy Disney; and former agent Dennis Gilbert and Los Angeles investors Jason Reese and Randy Wooster.
Both Cuban and Johnson have been linked to the Dodgers, a franchise that has gone through financial crisis following the divorce of the McCourts, for months. Cuban's interest goes back to at least June 2011 although he recently said that he would not bid $1 billion for the club.

"At that price, I wasn't interested," Cuban said. "I don't think the Dodgers franchise is worth twice what the [Texas] Rangers are worth."

Johnson's interest in the club dates to August 2011.

"If the Dodgers ever came up for sale," Johnson said in August, "Would I take a look at it with some other people? Of course you would look at it. Because the brand is so strong. As we speak today, they do have an owner. It's never good to talk about an organization that already has an owner. I will say this: the Dodgers brand is amazing. The O'Malley family were great owners."

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com.
Posted on: November 11, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 9:44 am

Magic Johnson: Happy it was me

Posted by Royce Young

Celebrated certainly isn't the right word, but it's been 20 years since Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive. When he made the announcement, most thought it was a death sentence. But Magic has been going strong for 20 years and nothing looks to be slowing him down.

So maybe celebrate is the right word.

But with 20 years comes a lot of reflection. And in an interview with 790 The Ticket in Miami, Magic recalled the day he found out, how he told his wife and even said he's glad it was him that got HIV.
“I’m happy that it was me who got this news, who was the person who got HIV in terms of in the sports world, that could change the mindset of people about HIV and AIDS. Before I announced, you had to whisper about HIV and AIDS. Now, after I announced, you could talk openly about it. They had a person who could handle the backlash or the bad publicity or corporations dropping him. I handled all of that. I handled the backlash or the players who said they didn’t want to play against me, in Karl Malone and Mark Price. And I decided not to be angry at them, but to educate them … and all the other sports leagues and the world.”
That's a really thoughtful paragraph from Magic there. Because he's entirely right. He brought HIV and AIDS to the public and made everyone understand that A) it's not actually a death sentence, B) it doesn't turn a person into a walking contaminent and C) that it's something you can still live a happy life with.

Magic Johnson being diagnosed truly was a watershed moment for AIDS and HIV. He changed the perception and the approach to it.

As Magic alluded to, he had to fight through a lot of crap that other players, coaches and fans gave him. One of those being Isiah Thomas. Magic's answer:
Yeah, that hurt. It hurt him and hurt me, and that’s too bad. At the same time, I don’t wish anything bad on Isiah. … I still have a good feeling in my heart for Isiah and I will always have that.”
Like I said, the entire situation was really for the best. A terrible thing for Magic to deal with, but think of the impact he's had over the past 20 years. Opinions and perceptions have been changed. That's important.

Via Sports Radio Interviews
Posted on: November 7, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 1:21 pm

Magic Johnson: Through the years

Posted by Ben Golliver


While Monday marks the 20-year anniversary of NBA legend Magic Johnson's public announcement that he had contracted HIV, Johnson's impact on the basketball world is now stretching into its fifth decade. Here's a collection of some of the highlights along the way.


A sportswriter in Lansing, Michigan, dubs local star Earvin Johnson "Magic" for his all-around ball-handling brilliance. | USA Today


Johnson decides to stay home and attend Michigan State University, where he wins a title in his sophomore season.

"It was the 6-foot-8 Johnson who connected time after time with scoring and passing in the second half of Michigan State's 75-64 win over previously unbeaten Indiana State Monday," the UPI wrote. Indiana State was led by long-time rival Larry Bird.


Magic Johnson wins NBA Finals MVP as a Los Angeles Lakers rookie after scoring 42 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing seven assists and playing all five positions when center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went down an ankle injury. The game is in the discussion for greatest clutch performance of NBA history. | Sports Illustrated  

1982, 1985, 1987, 1988

Johnson goes on to lead the Showtime Lakers to four additional championships, establishing the team as the premier franchise of the decade and setting the standard for all future stars, Michael Jordan included, to surpass. Johnson would be named NBA MVP in 1987, 1989 and 1990.


Johnson shocks the entire world by announcing in a press conference that he had HIV and that he would retire. Beloved as a person and a sportsman, the nation reacted with shock, compassion and fear.


Johnson married his long-time companion, Cookie.


Along with Jordan and Bird, Johnson led the United States to a Gold Medal at the Barcelona Olympics. The team was dubbed the "Dream Team" and is widely regarded as the greatest collection of basketball talent of all time.

Johnson made an NBA comeback, highlighted by winning NBA All-Star MVP honors.


The Lakers retire Johnson's No. 32 jersey. | LakersWeb.net


Johnson began a brief coaching career with the Lakers. He finished with a record of 5-11.


Johnson transitions to the front office, buying an ownership stake in the Lakers and taking the title "Vice President." | Jet


Johnson began opening movie theatres in urban communities, a venture that would eventually lead to a partnership with Loews. | NotableBiographies.com 


Johnson was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players.


Johnson struggled through a brief stint as a late-night talk show host. | New York Times


Johnson begins investing in Starbucks Coffee franchises in "underserved areas." | Starbucks


Johnson begins a 7-year career as a television commentator for TNT. He now commentates for ESPN. | ESPN.com


Johson is inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.


Johnson's foundation begins a partnership with AIDS Healthcare Clinic that has tested more than 3,000 adults. His foundation has tested, in total, more than 38.000 people.  | Magic Johnson Foundation


Johnson sells his ownership stake in the Lakers. | CBSSports.com


The Dayton Dragons minor league baseball team, of which Johnson is a part-owner, sets a professional sports record for the most consecutive sell-outs. | New York Times 
Posted on: November 7, 2011 12:51 pm

Video: Magic Johnson announces his retirement

Posted by Royce Young

Twenty years ago. Twenty years ago Magic Johnson stood in front of a microphone and said, "Because of the HIV virus that I have attained, I will have to retire from the Lakers today."

Shock doesn't even begin to describe the feeling. Everyone thought Magic, one of the five greatest players ever, was dead. But as Magic prophetically said then, "I plan on going on and living for a long time." And he has. Twenty years to the day, in fact. And still going.

Magic attempted a comeback in 1992, but couldn't get past a few hurdles. Opposing players were afraid to guard him. There was a whole big discussion about whether or not you can get HIV through sweat. Magic returned again in 1996 though, bulked up and basically made up a new position -- point forward. He walked on to the floor and played as if he never missed a beat. Final line: 27 minutes, 19 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists.

"I can't even begin to tell you how I feel," Johnson said post game. "This is one of the most exciting days of my life ever. I never, ever thought I'd be back here doing this again."

He retired at the end of the season averaging 14.6 points, 6.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds in 32 games. After he finished, he retired permanently saying, "I am going out on my terms, something I couldn't say when I aborted a comeback in 1992."

Magic was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 with good friend and long-time rival Larry Bird welcoming him in. Johnson's speech was full of the moving stuff you'd expect from a guy that had to go through what he did, but he opened very simply.

I have to thank God, because 11 years ago I didn't know if I'd be here to accept this award," he said. Well he's still here and he's still going strong.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: November 7, 2011 3:31 pm

Looking back at Magic's announcement

By Matt Moore 

20 years ago today, Magic Johnson announced his retirement from basketball following his diagnosis of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Today there will be stirring and wonderful tributes to one of the greatest players in NBA history, and by all accounts a man that has done more with his life than most healthy people do. From his business acumen to his philanthropic efforts, Johnson has become a symbol for more than just a brilliant basketball player. 

In these types of columns, you're faced with the challenge of wanting to say the obvious, in this case, Magic is awesome and his announcement 20 years ago was at once terrifying and unforgettable, and wanting to do so in a way that's unique from all the other great words being shared today. For me, I'm left with not what Magic's announcement meant at the time, but what it means today. It's impossible to relate how Johnson's announcement that he was HIV-positive affected me or the world then. I was nine. But having seen Johnson's life through the past twenty years, if a player came out tomorrow to announce a positive diagnosis for HIV, it's stunning how drastically different it would be. 

It wouldn't be a death sentence. Johnson acts as a symbol to anyone who contracts the virus that their life isn't over. Not only is Johnson still alive, he has yet to contract AIDS, and by all accounts is in good health. While his lifestyle is no doubt impacted by his diagnosis, he has lead a happy and full life. He's a presence at public events nearly daily, he's a spokesperson for his foundation promoting research and awareness, he's a part owner of the Lakers and a network broadcaster, for crying out loud. Anyone to contract the virus would have faced terror and anxiety with no real awareness of what it means 20 years ago. And while Johnson is only a small part of the effort to raise awareness of the realities of HIV and AIDS, his stature and continued efforts and energy provide an inescapable road sign that says the journey is not over. HIV does not run your life. 

If a player were to announce his diagnosis of HIV tomorrow, there wouldn't be the terror-filled reactions we saw in 1991 from players regarding health concerns. The player would be embraced by teammates and fellow players, he would be supported by coaches, fans, the league. It's a much different world today than it was 20 years ago, obviously, but particularly in this realm. There would be fears of contact through cuts, I'm sure, but overall the tone would be dramatically different. 

Magic announces HIV: 20 years later
There's conversations today about what makes Magic so amazing is that he managed to not be remembered for his diagnosis, but instead for his play, for his life, but really it's all of that. Johnson's not beyond criticicism, his reaction to suggestions that he must be gay to have contracted the condition looks particularly bad in retrospect. But it also stands as an example along with Johnson's life since then. So much has changed. We know and understand so much more and continue to learn and understand each day. 

2.5 million people are estimated to have been infected with HIV in 2009. An estimated 33.3 million people are living each day without the means Magic Johnson has to combat the illness.  We're still trying to find a cure, still trying to find better ways to treat it and contain it and live with it. But the world is a better place when it comes to dealing with HIV and AIDS than it was twenty years ago, and Magic Johnson has been part of that. In a world where we seem to be constantly finding ways we fail ourselves, maybe it's good to take some level of celebration in a pattern of hope.
Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 6:05 pm

Magic Johnson rips LeBron, jokingly

Posted by Royce Young

"There will always be great players in basketball," Magic Johnson told a crowd in Albany, New York. "There's always going to be guys who win championships in the NBA. Except LeBron. Don't be mad."

Burn. I guess at least he didn't make fun of his hairline.

Magic continued: "Everybody's always asking, 'who is better between Kobe and LeBron'? I'm like 'are you kidding me? Kobe five championships, LeBron zero. I love the young man though. I know he's going to get better this year in the fourth quarter."

Then as it goes in every roast where someone wraps up their slamming by backing off and saying how awesome the person is, Magic backed off. "No, I'm not hating on LeBron. He's a triple-double threat every single game and he's going to get better. Anyway"

If you just read these quotes, you'd think Magic was shredding LeBron. But really, for his speech, he was just breaking out a little standup routine and the punchline appeared to be LeBron. But it's all for the sake of a laugh and Magic, as he often did, delivered right on the money.
Posted on: October 3, 2011 6:40 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 6:44 pm

LeBron James, Miami Heat need full NBA season

Posted by Ben Golliver


The first title has to be clean.

When you’re playing with an eye towards history and your expressed purpose is to serve as the NBA’s next great dynasty, the first championship won’t be compared to just any old title. 

No, it will be judged against the first titles won by previous legends and it will have to stack up on some key criteria. The title must come against top competition. The title must be secured with the franchise player leaving his stamp on the key moments. And, most importantly, there can’t be any loopholes or asterisks. If prospective basketball Kings eye immortality, those criteria are nonnegotiable.

The greatest to ever do it, Michael Jordan, won MVP all six times he went to the NBA Finals. Along the way, he knocked off an entire generation of stars: Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, and the list goes on. In securing his first title, Jordan knocked off the defending champion Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals and sent home arguably the greatest player of the 1980s, Magic Johnson, in the Finals. Jordan averaged an astonishing 31.2 points, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 1.4 blocks and shot 55.8 percent from the field in the five-game romp over the Lakers.

That’s clean. Just try to pick nits over that. The fact that the Pistons stomped off the court in defeat and Johnson graciously passed the torch only adds to the legend. That's clean.

Johnson’s own story is nearly as strong. As a rookie, he won Finals MVP for leading the Lakers past a loaded Philadelphia 76ers team with center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sidelined with an ankle injury. Just 20-years-old, he famously played all five positions in the deciding game, putting up 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists, and secured the title on the road, sending Hall of Famer Julius Erving and company home empty-handed. Pretty damn clean.

Rookie Bill Russell grabbing 32 rebounds in Game 7 of the 1957 Finals for the Boston Celtics to defeat the St. Louis Hawks, led by Hall of Famer Bob Pettit. Clean. In 1981, Larry Bird nearly averaged a triple-double -- 15.3 points, 15.3 rebounds and seven assists per game -- and memorably rebounded and reloaded his own miss in mid-air for one of basketball’s greatest highlights in defeating the Houston Rockets, led by Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon. Clean.

For immortality, that’s the standard. Sure, it’s nearly impossible to match, but if we’re talking about “not one, not two, not three, not four” levels of greatness, that’s what you’re up against. The performance must be unimpeachable.

With the notable exceptions of guard Dwyane Wade, forward Udonis Haslem and president Pat Riley, 2011-2012 is shaping up to be the first title for all the key members of the Miami Heat. LeBron James. Chris Bosh. Head coach Erik Spoelstra. Whichever cadaver is brought in to play center. And, really, if we wind up talking about a Heat dynasty 20 years from now, 2006 won’t be mentioned, except with regard to Wade. All that will truly matter is how many rings get stacked up over the next 6-to-8 years.

That’s especially true for James, who has the best shot at joining basketball's all-timers. The last thing that James needs at this juncture, then, is an asterisk. And a shortened season is about as big as asterisks come.

Nothing says impeachable quite like winning a title in one of only two seasons in the past forty that were played with less than 82 games. Nothing says loophole like jogging through a 50-game spread against opponents in varying degrees of condition and then suiting up for a playoffs that very well could include a bunch of teams that shouldn't be there. All six of Jordan’s titles came in 82-game seasons; all five of Johnson’s titles came in 82-game seasons; all three of Bird’s titles came in 82-game seasons. If James wants to climb that mountain, and he should, he's being handed a tough trail.

James, already with more detractors than he can handle, will be damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t if a single NBA game is canceled, as is expected to be announced later this week. James was already held to a higher standard than your typical NBA superstar, but, title-less at age 26 and coming off of back-to-back summers in which he alienated vast swaths of basketball fans with the “Decision” and then dramatically collapsed in the 2011 NBA Finals, pressure and expectations have only mounted. To win a title in any way except in pristine conditions and through overwhelming statistical production will not suffice. “Yeah, he won, but it was a lockout,” critics will say. “MJ never needed a short season to win a championship.”

The expectations James feels are mirrored by those facing his organization. After the preseason parade, the “teaming up,” the “taking their talents to South Beach,” and the instant success reflected by a Finals run in their first year together, Miami badly needs revenge and redemption. But neither revenge nor redemption will taste sweet if everyone is harping that it “doesn’t count” because of the work stoppage.

If James and the Heat do take home their first title in June, it won’t be enough. Their only hope is to keep winning, a lot, stacking up enough jewelry so that the "lockout title" is no longer worth mentioning. Until that happens, “sure, he won three (or four, or five) titles, but…” will follow them like a pox.  Because the doubts don’t stop at multiple rings. Just ask Olajuwon, who won two in the 1990s. “But Jordan was playing baseball.” The doubts don’t even stop at five. Just ask guard Kobe Bryant. “But it was Shaquille O’Neal’s team for the first three.” Paradoxically, then, winning this season could serve to increase expectations for the Heat rather than satiate them. Winning to prove that winning wasn't a fluke is a vicious cycle.

The Heat and their fans will likely respond to this line of argumentation by saying that they don’t care about what outsiders think. That history can only be written one season at a time and that it would be better to win a title and get the monkey off the bag. That’s the right approach. But, deep down, they want their first title of the modern era to be indisputable more than anyone else. They've been through the fire, they've suffered through the media circus, they've absorbed all the criticism. James surely wants to bathe in champagne like a care-free child knowing that he put decades of doubt to bed once and for all.

And, surely, as a student of the game, he knows that’s impossible in a shortened season. If one game is lost, it might as well be all 82 for Miami. Labor negotiations are a dirty game, and a corrupted 2012 NBA title could never be clean.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com