Two years ago I blogged about Magic Johnson’s (lack of) studio skills. Here’s the post from 6/20/10. See what you think.Whether the answer to that question is yes, maybe or no (and you’ll get little quarrel from me if you answer in the affirmative), one thing is for certain: he is by no means the best Laker studio analyst. Whichever former Laker actually is the best at that position I’m not sure, but in no way is he named Earvin Johnson.
When Magic played basketball, the game seemed to come so easy to him. Even when he was a rookie point guard and was forced to play, not only out of position, but as a center - in the highest of leagues, on the biggest of stages - he responded with a 42-point, 15-rebound, 7-assist, 3-steal effort that won the his club the NBA Championship and himself the Finals MVP Award - the first rookie to do so. As a player, he was a natural.
And therein lies the problem. ESPN is also forcing him into a new position - but in this one, natural would be about the last word to describe him. On the court, no one ever had to tell him what to do. He told them. Based on his performance during the past NBA Playoffs, it was apparent someone mentioned to him that his trademark enthusiasm should be on display. When he played, however, his love of the game was so spontaneous; on the air, it’s so evident he’s trying too hard. In his Laker #32 purple & gold, the Hall-of-Famer made his teammates better. In his suit & tie, that trait just isn’t there. In fact, he looked the least comfortable of the quartet.
He’s undoubtedly one of the all-time greats ever to play the game. He beat AIDS and became an incredibly successful businessman in one of the most difficult of areas to so. But in his latest venture, he needs to heed the advice of the late John Wooden:
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”