Magic Johnson is leaving ESPN, where he has been part of the network’s NBA coverage, because of what he and the network say are his “other commitments.”
“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,” Johnson said in a statement released by ESPN. “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.”
Johnson’s “other commitments” include a number of business ventures as well as an ownership stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will open play against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday in the National League Championship Series.
As he departs, “NBA Countdown,” the show on which he was a panelist, is in the process of being remodeled. Michael Wilbon’s NBA role will be decreased as he focuses more on “Pardon the Interruption.” The network announced earlier today that Doris Burke Burke would join a panel that Richard Deitsch of SI.com says will include “in some combination,” Doug Collins, Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons, with Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo as “possibilities.”
“Earvin “Magic” Johnson informed us today that he’ll no longer be part of our NBA coverage due to his other commitments,” John Wildhack, ESPN’s executive vice president of production, said in the network’s release. “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.”