News broke on Thursday that Magic Johnson was leaving ESPN. The network cited that Johnson was leaving because of his busy schedule, which is understandable because Johnson is a big business man and a partial owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. But now rumors have started to swirl as to why the Magic Man abruptly left the network just days before NBA coverage was set to begin.
Magic has of course been part of NBA Countdown for the last couple of years, but this year the show is set to undergo significant changes. The biggest change being that Bill Simmons will control most of what goes on. On top of that Michael Wilbon, Magic’s friend, was replaced by Doug Collins. All of this reportedly did not sit well with Johnson and he decided that he was done.
Now, NBA Countdown will consist of Simmons, Collins, Jalen Rose and Doris Burke. Not exactly an All Star lineup.
According to Deadspin, sources said that “the bottom line is they turned that show over to Simmons.” Magic apparently just did not want to be part of a show that Simmons had control of.
I guess I don’t blame Magic. It’s not that he’s above everyone else on the show, but I could see how he wouldn’t want to be a part of the ‘revamped’ edition.
NBA Countdown certainly won’t be the same without Wilbon and Magic. Collins is a tremendous analyst, but Burke is not going to be able to fill the void left by the two departing members.