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#pounditFriday, January 21, 2022

Articles tagged: Magic Johnson

Russell Westbrook responds to Magic Johnson’s criticism of Lakers

Russell Westbrook dribbles

The current Los Angeles Lakers point guard is taking some time to respond to the greatest Los Angeles Lakers point guard.

The Lakers suffered another ugly defeat to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, losing in a 133-96 thumping. The loss took them back under .500 (21-22).

Magic Johnson expressed his unhappiness about the loss on Twitter, calling out the Lakers for a lack of effort and urgency.

After the game, Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, who has faced much of the criticism for the team’s struggles, was asked about Johnson’s comments.

“I do not have a reaction,” replied Westbrook, per Ethan Sears of the New York Post. “Everybody is entitled, in this world, to their opinion. Regardless of what that it is. You can either take it and run with it or you can take it and put it in one ear and out the other or you cannot respond to it.

“Magic’s entitled to his opinion,” he added. “He’s not here every day. He’s not around us every day. He’s not aware of what’s going on internally with us and trying to figure things out. But I have no response to that … Like I said, everyone in this world is entitled to their opinion and that’s that.”

The Lakers are currently seventh in the West and would be in the play-in tournament if the season ended today. While Anthony Davis is still out with a knee injury, it has been a massive underperformance for a Lakers team that had championship aspirations heading into the year.

Johnson, a Lakers franchise icon and their former president of basketball operations, has been openly critical of the team throughout the season. But Westbrook essentially seems to be saying that Johnson does not know what he is talking about here.

Photo: Dec 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) in action during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Magic Johnson not planning to watch new HBO series on ‘Showtime Lakers’

Magic Johnson

HBO’s highly-anticipated TV series on the Showtime Lakers does not seem to be all that popular among those who are being depicted in it.

TMZ Sports spoke this week with retired L.A. Lakers great Magic Johnson and asked him for his thoughts on the upcoming series “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.” The series, produced by Adam McKay, tells the story of the Lakers’ “Showtime” era and will debut on HBO Max in March.

“No, we got different shows coming out,” said Johnson when asked if he was excited about the series. “I got one, then you got Jeanie Buss got one on Showtime coming out, so those are the ones I’m looking forward to.”

Johnson is referencing a four-part docuseries about him on Apple TV+ that he has authorized. Buss’ project is actually going to be on Netflix.

“I’m not looking forward to it,” Johnson added about the HBO project. “I’m going to leave it at that.”

Johnson also said that he was not going to watch the HBO series.

“Winning Time” does not star any actual figures from the “Showtime” era. Instead, Hollywood actors were tabbed to play the parts. Johnson is played in the series by Quincy Isaiah. Adrien Brody (as coach Pat Riley) and John C. Reilly (as the late Dr. Jerry Buss) are some other notable cast members.

While the series has drawn a lot of hype, there is some obvious unhappiness with it from the real Showtime Lakers. Earlier this month, Johnson’s co-star on the team voiced his own displeasure with the series.

Photo: 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

Rob Lowe makes big reveal about Magic Johnson’s Twitter account

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson’s Twitter account has been the subject of endless fascination and intrigue among NBA fans. Johnson’s tweets are usually blindly obvious takes about the NBA, which actually gives them a somewhat endearing quality.

In 2020, however, the world suffered a bit of disappointment when it learned that Johnson does not actually write his own tweets. Fear not, though: Johnson’s longtime friend, actor Rob Lowe, got to the bottom of the situation. Lowe said on Friday’s edition of the “Pardon My Take” podcast that Johnson doesn’t physically write his own tweets, but they are his words. How? Apparently he has someone following him around to relay what he says (roughly 1:10:00 into the episode).

“Last night I found out that Magic Johnson does not physically do any of the tweets, which may explain some of them,” Lowe said. “It’s articulated, clearly across the room or while he’s doing 17 other things as a titan of industry, and then there is a woman whose job is to figure out what he’s talking about and make it a tweet.”

Lowe added that he doesn’t believe Johnson is explicitly singling out the things he says to be tweeted, meaning this employee is responsible for sifting through Johnson’s various observations and sending the best of them.

“I think he doesn’t say ‘send tweet,’ so she never knows when it’s ending. So you get what you get,” Lowe theorized.

Maybe that explains some of Johnson’s painfully obvious takes — he’s just casually chatting about the NBA with someone who might not follow it all that closely. On the other hand, it might mean some of Johnson’s unintentional burns weren’t actually an accident after all.

Magic Johnson had incredulous reaction to Lakers bench altercation

Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard have a bench altercation

Magic Johnson sounded like a disappointed dad after witnessing the incident on the Los Angeles Lakers bench during Friday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Johnson reacted on Twitter to the altercation between Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard during a timeout in the first half of their 115-105 defeat (video here).

“Dwight Howard and AD got into a physical altercation on the bench,” the retired Lakers legend tweeted. “In my 42 years of being associated with the Lakers organization, I’ve never seen something like that smh.”

Johnson, who was drafted by the Lakers in 1979, summed up the reactions of many to the shocking incident. Teammates get into each other’s faces all the time. But it was very surprising to see the altercation between Davis and Howard turn physical, in a nationally-televised game no less.

The Lakers are now 0-2 to start the regular season after going 0-6 during the preseason. The microscope will only intensify further if they continue to lose. At least the Lakers succeeded in getting Johnson to show more emotion than he usually does on Twitter.

Report: Stephen A. Smith wants to team up with Magic Johnson on ESPN

Magic Johnson

Stephen A. Smith is a powerful man at ESPN, and when he has an ideal co-host in mind, the network tends to listen. That’s what makes Smith’s latest reported idea so interesting.

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Smith wants to team up with Magic Johnson on TV, possibly as part of “NBA Countdown.” Smith’s ideal setup would involve him, Johnson, and longtime “Pardon the Interruption” co-host Michael Wilbon, who works with Smith frequently on “SportsCenter.”

It’s not clear if ESPN would be willing to put Smith and his selected co-hosts on “NBA Countdown.” In the past, the network has resisted making him a centerpiece of its NBA pregame show, feeling his opinionated style is not a good fit for the program. However, there is some belief that the pre-existing camaraderie of Smith, Johnson, and Wilbon would come through on the air.

Johnson could also have a role as Smith’s debate partner on “First Take” as part of a rotation. ESPN plans to use a rotating cast of co-hosts on that program after Max Kellerman’s departure.

The network is currently revamping its NBA programming in light of the high-profile departure of Maria Taylor and the demotion of Rachel Nichols stemming from her controversial comments about Taylor that leaked this year. With the NBA coverage in flux, Smith certainly appears poised to step into the void.

Johnson has done TV before, although his contributions haven’t been terribly noteworthy. He certainly has his share of opinions, but also gets roasted somewhat frequently for some of his more obvious takes.

Magic Johnson thinks LeBron James has this long to win again with Lakers

Magic Johnson

LeBron James isn’t getting any younger, and Magic Johnson thinks time is running out for him to win a second title with the Los Angeles Lakers.

In an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin,” Johnson said he believes James has two more years to succeed with the Lakers before his window closes.

“I think to me he has two hard years,” Johnson said. “I’m talking about, ‘listen, we gotta get it done in these two years that I can still just be a man out here dominating, playing great.’ The Lakers, we got to get some pieces around here for these two years. In another year, (Kevin Durant), it’s going to be his turn.”

Johnson added that he believes James should be moved off the ball to make his role less demanding, and add at least another shooter to take some pressure off the Lakers star.

James raised some eyebrows late in the season with some comments he made about his long-term health, though he later suggested the reaction to that was overblown. Overblown or not, James turns 37 in December and dealt with some legitimate injury issues this past season.

The core of James and Anthony Davis will be intact as long as James sticks around. Johnson is certainly right that the Lakers need some extra pieces around them that can threaten from the perimeter. That was what the team hoped Dennis Schroder could do, but it’s safe to say Magic doesn’t think that move worked out.

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Magic Johnson trashes Dennis Schroder for play against Suns

Magic Johnson

Like every Los Angeles Lakers fan, Magic Johnson is disappointed to see the team’s season end with a first round exit. Johnson also isn’t afraid to single out members of the team he feels underperformed.

On Friday, Johnson singled out guard Dennis Schroder as a key underperformer in the Lakers’ six-game loss to the Phoenix Suns. The Hall-of-Famer questioned whether Schroder had the “winning mentality” to play for the Lakers, and outright said he “failed” against the Suns.

“Schroder, I don’t think he’s a Laker. That’s just my opinion,” Johnson said on AM 570 LA Sports. “I don’t know if they’re going to sign him back or not. I don’t think he brings the winning mentality and attitude that we need and he had a chance to show that in this series and to me, he failed in this series. If he comes back a Laker, I’m going to support him, I’m going to cheer for him and all that. But I just don’t think he’s a Laker.”

Johnson is definitely right that Schroder struggled against Phoenix. He averaged 14.3 points per game, but was limited to 2.8 assists per game and shot just 40 percent from the field. He was particularly poor in Game 5, when the Lakers needed their supporting cast to step up with Anthony Davis sidelined. Schroder went 0-for-9 from the field and failed to score in 26 minutes of action. It’s key to note, however, that Schroder was still getting his legs under him entering the playoffs after a bout with COVID-19.

As Johnson alluded to, Schroder is set to become an unrestricted free agent. It certainly sounds like he might be ready to leave the Lakers, so that might make Magic happy.

Magic Johnson roasted for his latest hard-hitting Twitter analysis

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson has become one of the most popular NBA personalities on Twitter because of his matter-of-fact takes and often shockingly obviously statements, and the Los Angeles Lakers legend lived up to his reputation on Tuesday.

Johnson tweeted last week that Game 3 and Game 5 are the most important games of a seven-game NBA playoff series. Some people disagreed and noted that any game can be the most important depending on which team has home advantage and what happens in the series to that point. However, with two playoff series tied at 2-2 heading into Game 5 on Tuesday night, Magic feels his point has been validated.

You’ve got us there, Magic. It would be tough for anyone to argue that Game 5 of a series that is tied 2-2 is the most important game.

Some of the responses to Johnson’s tweet were hilarious:

Johnson is one of the best players in NBA history, but where he really shines is with his painfully obvious analysis. He’s also been known to (unintentionally?) burn people on Twitter. He truly is a must-follow.

Magic Johnson roasted for flaunting 2020 Lakers ring despite quitting

Magic Johnson

The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title last season in spite of Magic Johnson’s efforts, not because of them. Still, that is not stopping Johnson from flaunting the championship ring he received on social media.

The retired Lakers legend took to Twitter on Saturday to show off the rings that were gifted to him and his wife Cookie by team owner Jeanie Buss. Johnson boldly proclaimed it to be “my 11th NBA championship ring.”

The irony here however is that Johnson was the president of basketball operations for the Lakers from 2017 to 2019, runnning the team into the ground before abruptly quitting because he was no longer “having fun.”

Many Twitter users saw the comedy in Johnson’s post and roasted him.

During Johnson’s tenure, the Lakers made a number of boneheaded moves. Those included letting talented players like Brook Lopez and Julius Randle walk for nothing, trading young big man Ivica Zubac for essentially nothing, and making odd signings such as Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson. The Lakers also never once made the postseason under Johnson. Then after Johnson resigned, he trashed former front office partner Rob Pelinka as a backstabber (though the two have since made peace).

Meanwhile, LeBron James’s arrival in Los Angeles did admittedly happen during Johnson’s tenure. But the four-time MVP already seemed set on coming to the Lakers regardless of who was running the team.

Johnson won five rings as a player and had an ownership stake in the team for five more of their championship runs after his retirement. While he may have earned those rings, especially the first five, he most certainly did not earn this latest ring that he received from the Lakers.

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Shaq received his best financial advice from Magic Johnson

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal is a savvy investor and businessman, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the former NBA star says that he was bad with money for a long time. What changed was when he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996 and received financial advice from Magic Johnson.

Shaq spoke with “Shark Tank” star Daymond John for a Black Entrepreneurs Day event. He shared his financial journey.

Shaq was so bad with money at first that when he made $1 million from a trading card endorsement deal, he blew it in one day. He spent it on three Mercedes cars for him and his family, some jewelry, and an extravagant trip to Las Vegas.

Shaq spent so much that he was called in by the president of the bank, who advised him to slow down on his spending. That’s when Shaq learned about taxes and the difference between gross and net incomes.

The Big Fella says he didn’t have things under control until he was in his mid-20s and with the Lakers.

“When I first got to L.A., [Johnson] said ’Shaq, it’s okay to be famous and all that but at some point, you want to start owning things,’” O’Neal said.

O’Neal decided he wanted to own a clothing line. From there, he began learning a lot more.

Shaq works as a broadcaster for TNT and has multiple product endorsement deals. He makes more now than we he did as a player. He owns multiple restaurant franchise stores, franchise gyms, several car washes, and he’s on the board for Papa John’s. That’s not at all bad from a guy with an SAT score like Shaq’s.