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Magic Johnson defends ex-Laker in fraud scheme

September 2, 2011 | 11:45 am

Magic JohnsonWith his former Michigan State and Lakers teammate facing a nine-year prison sentence for his involvement in a fraud scheme, Magic Johnson has asked the U.S. District Court to lighten Jay Vincent's sentence.

According to the Grand Rapids Press' John Ager, Johnson asked the judge to "have mercy" on Vincent and to consider giving him a "second chance and a light sentence" so that he could "reclaim his dignity and rejoin his family."

Vincent, who played for the Lakers in the 1989-90 season, is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker after the government said Vincent's business, Foreclosure Bank Inspection Co., advertised for inspectors of foreclosed homes and required prospective inspectors to pay $149 for non-existent insurance coverage and $89 for a background check., the Grand Rapids Press report said.

Though he acknowledged Vincent for his wrongdoing and that he has to pay the victims back, Johnson praised his character  when the two were roommates at Michigan State. Johnson described Vincent in his letter as "an incredible teammate with a tremendous heart."

“With all due respect to the parties involved, and my heart goes out to them," Johnson reportedly wrote. "I ask again that you consider his time served and have mercy on him and not allow this one incident of bad decision making to change the course of his life."

More links below the jump

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer remarks that it's inaccurate for Kevin Garnett to suggest Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson weren't on good terms in 2007.

--Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin notes Pau Gasol's comments that he will play in Spain should the NBA lockout continue.'s Nicki Jhabvala highlights Garnett's comments to Dan Patrick that he would havee joined the Lakers in 2007 if not for all the inner squabbling.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky talks to USC women's basketball coach and former Laker Michael Cooper about the Showtime Era, Larry Bird and Trojan hoops.

--Fox Sports' Michael Martinez details Luke Walton's assistant coaching gig with the Memphis Tigers.

--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller rolls his eyes at Ron Artest guaranteeing the Lakers will win the 2012 NBA title.

--Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus also analyzes whether Bryant cost the Lakers the chance to land Garnett.'s Mike Trudell talks with Coach Mike Brown about moving to Los Angeles.

--Silver Screen and Roll's DexterFishmore questions Brandon Jennings' argument that Kobe Bryant shouldn't be able to play in the Drew League because he didn't grow up in L.A.

Tweet of the Day: "Spain-Britain about to tip on the slowest news day of the year in the U.S." -- ZachLowe_SI (Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "And considering what McHale ended up taking for Garnett, it's still funny that he would have turned down Odom and Bynum." -- baytola2

--Mark Medina

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Photo: Magic Johnson. Credit: Los Angeles Times