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NBA hall of famer and Los Angeles businessman Earvin “Magic” Johnson is telling fans exactly what they want to hear following the news that he’ll put a bid in to become part-owner of the L.A. Dodgers.
The former Lakers all-star tweeted Friday, “I’m excited to have the opportunity to be part of the Dodgers legacy & bring a World Series championship back to LA.”
Johnson, businessman Mark Walter and former Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves executive Stan Kasten confirmed Friday they will submit a bid to purchase the team under the Guggenheim Baseball Management moniker. Many observers believe such a grouping is needed in the aftermath of Frank McCourt’s rocky tenure as owner of the franchise and the team’s lackluster performance over the past few seasons.
The announcement was primarily met with support from the media, fans and even, the Lakers organization, which Johnson had a stake in until selling his shares of the team in October. Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak told the L.A. Times Friday that Johnson, “would be a great owner.”
Sportswriters and bloggers were also behind the move. USA Today‘s Peter Barzilai wrote, “Johnson could be exactly what the wounded Dodgers franchise needs — a beloved figurehead teaming up with a potent investment team, Guggenheim Baseball Management.”
The Wall Street Journal noted, “Mr. Johnson, who has made a small fortune in urban real estate and development, is one of the most popular figures in Los Angeles, while Mr. Kasten helped build the Atlanta Braves into one of baseball’s leading franchises.
Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog called the possible deal a ‘godsend,’: “A Magic-led ownership group would be a godsend for the Dodgers. It’d be a godsend for baseball. The team would be passing from one of the least-liked men in Southern California to maybe the only individual that every Los Angeleno can agree on and baseball would pick up its first black owner in the process.”
An enthusiastic post titled “Dodgers Just Got OWNED by Magic Johnson” on the …ology blog observed, “Magic Johnson & the Guggenheimers couldn’t do any worse than the previous Dodgers management under Frank McCourt. What I’m wondering now is this: I know Guggenheim is a pretty big deal. Guggenheim draws a lot of water in this country. But bigger than Magic Johnson? In the sports world? I mean, Magic F*cking Johnson! Personally, I’d have called it Magic Baseball Management.”
The fact that Johnson would be baseball’s first black owner was also noted by NPR producer Ben Bergman, who tweeted, “Magic Johnson would become first black person to own MLB team; Dodgers were 1st to break color barrier on field in ’47.”
The African-American news blog the Root also said, “Johnson’s stature as L.A.’s most popular athlete ever, plus his combination of charm, business acumen and political skill, would do wonders for baseball. And MLB needs every boost it can get, particularly among African Americans who have drifted away from the game. From baseball’s perspective, it’s better to have some Magic than none at all.”
Finally, fan reaction was summed up by this Tweet by @LASports, who cheered, “#Dodgers – Magic Johnson and his team of deep pocket investors have a solid chance being approved by MLB to buy the Dodgers. LA Loves Magic!”
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