ESPN, which earlier this week, shuffled the talent roster for its NBA Countdown show, now will have to conjure another player for its on-air team, as Magic Johnson has removed himself from the roster.
“Earvin 'Magic' Johnson informed us today that he’ll no longer be part of our NBA coverage due to his other commitments,” said ESPN executive vice president of production John Wildhack. “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.”
Later, ESPN reported that Doris Burke, longtime NBA and college basketball analyst/sideline reporter for ESPN, will work one day per week on NBA Countdown.
On Oct. 8, ESPN inked a multiyear deal with Doug Collins, who most recently coached the Philadelphia 76ers for the past three seasons, to replace Michael Wilbon on NBA Countdown. ESPN said that Wilbon will still have a "significant presence" on the network's NBA coverage, including appearances on SportsCenter and other news and information programming. He will be on-site for the Conference Finals and NBA Finals.
The Hall of Famer and Los Angeles Lakers and Michigan State legend, Johnson has many business interests, including ownership of cable network Aspire, and is a minority holder in Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers.
“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,” said Johnson. “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.”