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Magic Johnson leaves ESPN to pursue other commitments

For the last five years Magic Johnson has been a part of ESPN’s NBA Countdown and today we learn that will be no more. Johnson is reportedly leaving the show to pursue other commitments.


ESPN’s executive vice president John Wildhack released this statement about Johnson’s departure;

Earvin “Magic” Johnson informed us today that he’ll no longer be part of our NBA coverage due to his other commitments. We appreciate Magic’s contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors. We are in the process of determining our NBA commentator roles for the upcoming season.

Johnson himself issued his own statement mostly thanking those who he has worked with over the last five years.

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. I will always feel a strong connection to the ESPN family and I enjoyed working with them very much. I’d like to thank John Skipper, John Wildhack, Mark Gross, Kim Belton, Amina Hussein, Mark Summer, Adam Hertzog, Bob Rauscher, Stuart Scott, Mike Wilbon, Jon Barry, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons, Chris Broussard and the many others at ESPN for the wonderful opportunity to talk about the game I love. They are the best in the business.

While Johnson may have other commitments not everyone thinks that those commitments are the reason for his departure. Deadspin’s John Koblin believes that it was Bill Simmons’ growing influence on the show that pushed Johnson away. What that basically means is that Johnson’s role on the show was to be diminished and he simply did not want to play second fiddle to Simmons.

Whatever the reason may be expect Johnson to turn all of his focus to getting the Los Angeles Dodgers a World Series Championship.

– John McAuliffe (@SirJuanMac)