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.