Archive for the 'Magic Johnson' Category
Lakers Vice President and minority owner Magic Johnson has joined ESPN and will serve as a studio analyst on the network’s NBA Countdown show.
The former Lakers great will team with Stuart Scott, Michael Wilbon and former NBA player Jon Barry beginning Christmas Day and continue his duties through the NBA playoffs.
“Magic has always been one of the most accomplished people in every field he has endeavored. He was an incomparable player and has become one of the best NBA analysts in the business. His unique insights, perspective and personality will be the perfect complement to Stuart (Scott), Mike (Wilbon) and Jon (Barry),” said Norby Williamson, executive vice president, production.
Johnson’s Christmas Day start date coincides with the Lakers first meeting with the Boston Celtics since Game 6 of last year’s NBA Finals.
“I am thrilled to be able to be a part of ESPN, where I will work with a great team and cover all the big NBA events,” said Johnson. “Christmas can’t come soon enough for me.”
Slow day in Lakerville yesterday as the team was given the day off after working on Christmas day (or was it to celebrate Kwanzaa?).
The team continues to downplay it’s promising start. That’s a lesson that was learned from last year’s 42-40 finish that came after a 26-13 start (that’s 16-27 down the stretch sports fans).
Kurt from Forum Blue & Gold is subbing over at TrueHoop a couple times this week and just couldn’t help but bleed a little purple and gold onto ESPN’s pristine web space. Shouldn’t the nation learn to love Andrew Bynum as much as Lakers fans do anyway? Probably.
I’ve been meaning to give this it’s own post, but I haven’t and I can’t let it slide anymore. On Christmas Day the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke wrote a great piece about Magic Johnson that everyone (Laker fan or not) should read. It was so good that I even went out and bought a hard copy of the paper so my family could read it. First time I’ve bought a paper in 5 years. Check it out here.
The team gets back to work today. Check back later for the practice report and video.
“Watching the players and looking at their body language, they are going to have to make a decision about Kobe in the next week or two. It’s got to come to a head,” Johnson said. “You’ve either got to trade him or come out and say you’re going to keep him. Even Kobe needs it. He missed nine free throws [Tuesday]. It’s on his mind too.”
Of more concern was their lack of ability to make free throws on their home floor:
The team missed 18 of 45 attempts from the free-throw line. Bryant, an 86.8% free throw shooter last season, went 18 for 27.
Coach Phil Jackson said it wasn’t a big concern, especially after the first game. But he thought his club needed more practice in the venue.
“We haven’t shot enough down there at Staples,” Jackson said. “We’ll have to go down there and shoot a little bit earlier to get a feel for the backdrop.”
Derek Fisher pointed out that they missed 18 free throws and didn’t play their best game yet still had a chance to win.
“There were more positives than negatives,” Fisher said.
Coby #11 had the early lead in the on-going Kobe-on-Coby battle as he received well wishing from the home crowd just minutes after Kobe #24 heard the boo birds as he was being introduced to the capacity crowd at the STAPLES Center on opening night. But while the old saying “winning cures all” is almost always true, “dropping 45″ comes off as usually true and Coby #11 was back as second fiddle (Karl dressed instead of first round pick Javaris Crittenton as Jackson preferred his length).
The much ballyhooed booing that is being tossed around in the press today (not only did I have to hear Colleen Dominguez ask the same question 10 different ways, but I had the pleasure of listening to her recount the story on ESPN Radio this morning) lasted literally two sequences before giving way to guarded cheers and not long after that the standard “M-V-P” chants.
Yes the boos from the home crowd were shocking based on the love that the Laker Faithful have always shown Bryant through his darkest hours, but they were short lived. Even the most adamant objector would have a tough time booing a guy that goes for 45 points and 8 boards.
More important than the crowds reaction to a single player is that the Lakers are now 0-1 on the season. While that’s the only number that really matters you can get all your statistical breakdown goodness from the boys over at Forum Blue & Gold. The numbers shed an unflattering light on the second unit that played so well together in the pre-season. Their inspired play in the exhibition season can be attributed to the line changes that Phil was making. The substituion pattern that works in the pre-season (and the NHL) brought them great success, but isn’t a reality during the regular season. This unit needs to have a better performance for the Lakers to go anywhere this year.