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#pounditWednesday, June 29, 2022

What happened to Magic Johnson on ESPN’s ‘NBA Countdown’

Magic Johnson looking on

Mar 23, 2018; Omaha, NE, USA; NBA former player Magic Johnson watches during the first half between the Clemson Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks in the semifinals of the Midwest regional of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN announced last October that its revamped “NBA Countdown” show would feature Magic Johnson, but the Hall of Famer has not been seen alongside Stephen A. Smith and company since March. That was his only appearance, and it will be his last this season.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported on Wednesday that Johnson will not appear on “NBA Countdown” for the remainder of the playoffs. Dave Roberts, the head of NBA and studio production for ESPN, said Johnson has had “unexpected” obligations arise.

“There have been unexpected scheduling conflicts as Magic continues to expand his business commitments,” Roberts said in a statement. “While our new ‘NBA Countdown’ team has been exceptional this season, we have a great relationship with Magic and the door is always open to work together.”

In a press release on Oct. 5, ESPN announced that Mike Greenberg would host “NBA Countdown” alongside analysts Smith, Michael Wilbon and Jalen Rose. The network boasted about the addition of Johnson to the program and said he would “frequently appear as an analyst and will join the team for marquee events throughout the regular season, NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals.” Apparently not.

Marchand reports that Johnson would be amendable to working with ESPN again, so it sounds like the relationship between him and the network is fine. Perhaps he did have other obligations, though it seems unlikely that they would limit him to just a single “NBA Countdown” appearance.

Magic is known for speaking his mind, especially about his former team. Regular ESPN appearances from him would have been entertaining, at the very least.


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