NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson announced on Thursday that he’s leaving ESPN/ABC and “NBA Countdown” studio program.
“I love ESPN,’’ he said. “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. I will always feel a strong connection to the ESPN family and I enjoyed working with them very much.”
Johnson’s “other commitments” are most likely his various business interests that include part-ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Immediately after Johnson’s announcement, rumors of other reasons for his departure began to surface.
Deadspin reported that Johnson didn’t enjoy working with everyone very much, and that he lost a power struggle with fellow panelist Bill Simmons. There were also contrary reports saying that Johnson and Simmons got along just fine.
Earlier this week, ESPN announced the hiring of former 76ers coach Doug Collins as an analyst. Collins was expected to work alongside Johnson on those shows.