Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Dodgers’

Johnson Working His Baseball Magic

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Whatever it was that took Hall of Famer Magic Johnson away from the game he adores had to be pretty powerful, especially in Los Angeles.

The only brand that could match, or maybe even surpass, the Los Angeles Lakers in the Southland is Dodgers baseball. While Magic was helping the Showtime Lakers to five NBA titles during their heyday in the 1980s, Tommy Lasorda‘s Dodgers were also busy chasing championship glory, winning two World Series titles during the decade.

Magic and the Dodgers coming together the way they did decades later, when Magic joined the Guggenheim Group that owns the Dodgers and helped revive the franchise, seems almost like it was destined to happen.

They were intertwined, the Lakers star and the famed baseball franchise, during what Lasorda described (in the video above) as the “Golden Age” of LA sports.

Sure, the Dodgers are in a hole right now in the National League Championship Series, down 2-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals. But they are light years away from the drama and turmoil that plagued the franchise in recent years, before Magic and the Guggenheim Group got involved.

As he often did for the Lakers as their star point guard, Magic is already setting the table for Monday’s Game 3 at Dodger Stadium:

When news broke last week that Magic would no longer be a part of ESPN’s NBA coverage, it shouldn’t have come as a complete shocker. He has designs on restoring the Dodgers to the winning and championship tradition they enjoyed during his Showtime Lakers years. And he’ll need to be locked in and focused on that task in order to succeed.

We probably haven’t seen the last of him in an analyst’s role (Magic did guest analyst work for TNT before his stint with ESPN … you never know), but for now, the master of “Showtime” has moved on to the baseball world.

Dodgers Get A Magical Energy Boost

OAKLAND – The news broke a little before halftime Tuesday night as the Lakers played the Warriors in a fitting bit of coincidence: A group that includes Magic Johnson and Golden State part-owner Peter Guber bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for a reported $2.15 billion, a record sales price for a U.S. sports franchise.

Mark R. Walter, CEO of financial-services firm Guggenheim Capital, will be the controlling partner and have the biggest voice, but the biggest names are from the NBA. Johnson, of course, is the former Lakers star and minority owner and current vice president. Gube has the second-largest ownership stake in the Warriors. And there’s also Stan Kasten, the former Hawks executive who more recently was president of the Washington Nationals.

Showing he has a sense of humor to match the bank account, Johnson released a statement that “I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles.”

Johnson probably pulled a hamstring being gracious. He knows the truth: that McCourt dismantled a proud tradition and is historically unpopular in Los Angeles, but this is what Magic does as a beloved figure in town who will reach new heights with this deal. He energizes.