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Category: Magic Johnson

Andrew Bynum says he believes the Lakers won't trade him

The Orlando Sentinel's Brian Schmitz talks with Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who says he believes he'll remain a Laker after the March 15 trading deadline--The Orlando Sentinel's Brian Schmitz talks with Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who says he believes he'll remain a Laker after the March 15 trading deadline. Schmitz also reports a rumor involving the Magic and the Lakers: The Lakers trade Bynum and Pau Gasol to the Magic for Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson. 

--The Times' John Cherwa looks at how Lakers and the Clippers are strongly represented on this year's Western Conference all-star team. 

--The Times' Ben Bolch looks at the Clippers' improved popularity in Los Angeles. 

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore and the Orange County Register's Janis Carr examine West all-stars Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Bynum. Bonsignore explains how Bryant uses All-Star weekend to rest

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky hands out midterm grades to the Lakers. 

--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe wonders how much Bryant wants a fifth All-Star MVP award. 

--Fox Sports West's Joe McDonnell reflects on Magic Johnson's performance in the 1992 NBA All-Star game.

--Sheridan Hoops' Chris Sheridan details how NBA Commissioner David Stern remained unanswerable in whether he thought it was appropriate to stop Paul from going to the Lakers. 

--Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears reports that Howard is ready to finish this season with Orlando. 

--The Orange County Register's Mark Whicker argues that Lakers would be a much better team had Paul been allowed to stay with the team. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano reflects on Bryant's first NBA All-Star game. 

Tweet of the Day: "Hardest thing for Lakers fans today will be seeing Kobe, CP3 & Bynum in the starting lineup knowing that could've been their nightly lineup." -- ArashMarkazi (ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "We need youth, a point guard, offense and leadership.
So Jim Buss gets us an old, retired, defensive-minded power forward, that holds records for technical fouls. BRILLIANT!" - Neil Garces

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Andrew Bynum finishes off a dunk against the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Feb. 23. Credit: Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Magic Johnson's 1992 NBA All-Star appearance a defining moment

The moment Magic Johnson announced nearly 20 years ago that he had been diagnosed with HIV, the Lakers' front office, teammates and reporters let out a collective reaction.

They gasped. They cried. They wondered not if, but when, the Lakers' star would die.

Not Johnson.

Johnson may have announced his abrupt retirement from a storied NBA career that brought the Lakers five NBA championships. But he also vowed he'd fight the disease and raise awareness about the virus that causes AIDS. The first time the general public saw that taking place was at the 1992 NBA All-Star game, when Johnson won MVP honors by posting a game-high 25 points and nine assists en route to the Western Conference's 153-113 victory over the East while playing with the disease.

"It had a great impact on the world," Johnson said in a conference call this week with reporters.

It's easy to look at it that way now as the 2012 NBA All-Star game in Orlando marks the same spot where Magic made his 12th All-Star appearance 20 years ago. Johnson then played on the 1992 Dream Team, which he maintains would beat the 2012 London team. His foundation has raised $10 million for HIV/AIDS research and charities. Johnson's business portfolio shows he's still ambitious: he owns 105 Starbucks franchises and a chain of movie theaters; he has sold his 4.5% ownership stake with the Lakers; and he has an interest in possibly purchasing the Dodgers. More important, Johnson still lives.

But rewind back to that 1992 NBA All-Star game. There remained plenty of uncertainty then among the general public and NBA players, such as Karl Malone and Mark Price, on the ramifications of Johnson competing. Yet the fans voted Johnson to play. NBA Commissioner David Stern approved the selection. Former Golden State Warriors guard Tim Hardaway gave up his starting spot for the former Lakers star.

"That was the therapy I needed to continue to live the rest of my life," Johnson said. "It was a great, great moment for me."

That's because Johnson hardly made a token appearance. He matched up with Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan. Johnson faced physical defense from Dennis Rodman. Johnson made three consecutive three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Even before the game had officially ended, teammates embraced him at half court. Then he hit a three-pointer to give the West its 153-113 win.

A meaningless basket in a meaningless game meant everything.

"It just showed people Magic is back and he can play," Johnson said. "You can play against him. Nothing will happen. I think it did a lot for the world and HIV and AIDS."

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Magic Johnson: Jim Buss is running the Lakers, not Mitch Kupchak

Mitchetc
These are uncomfortable days for the Lakers, who can't avoid drama or the glare of the spotlight yet again.

Magic Johnson said in a conference call Wednesday that Lakers executive Jim Buss, not General Manager Mitch Kupchak, was making the important decisions for the franchise.

"It's not Mitch's situation anymore. Mitch isn't running the team. Jim Buss is running the team," Johnson said. "Mitch has to follow the direction of Jim Buss and what he wants. I wouldn't say Mitch is the problem. He's going to do his job."

Mitch Kupchak has been in the Lakers' front office for 25 years but Buss has gradually been handed more power over the years by his father, team owner Jerry Buss.

Johnson said Jim Buss should meet personally with Kobe Bryant because the 14-time All-Star "just wants to be informed as a leader and future Hall of Famer and a guy who has brought five championships to the Lakers."

"He wants more communication, probably like he did when [former Coach] Phil Jackson was there and he worked well with Mitch. I don't think Kobe feels he has that type of relationship or the communication has been there with Jim. What probably has to happen is they need to sit Kobe down and sit Jim down. Dr. [Jerry] Buss was the master at taking you to lunch or taking you to dinner and going over what he was thinking and what he wanted to do with the team. Jerry West was good at that as well. Kobe, Mitch and Jim just have to get on the same page and things will be OK."

When asked if he would meet with Jim Buss, Bryant responded Wednesday, "Um, perhaps."

Continue reading »

Magic Johnson's HIV announcement subject of ESPN documentary

At first, it sounded like a death sentence.

Magic Johnson delivered a sobering announcement nearly 20 years ago that he'd retire from the Lakers after contracting HIV. 

Now it's a testament to how Johnson has successfully fought the disease and become a spokesman for the cause.

So much so that ESPN will air an hour-long documentary on March 11 at 9 p.m. Eastern time, titled, "The Announcement."

"Was I scared? No question about it I was scared," Johnson says during the documentary. "I wasn't scared to announce it. I wasn't scared of the media. What I was scared of is … would I see them again?"

RELATED:

Magic Johnson maintains optimism in HIV fight

Magic Johnson wishes he hadn't retired so early

Magic Johnson grateful for support system in HIV fight

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com.

Clippers catching Magic Johnson's attention (Web links)

Magic Johnson

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan and myself highlight Magic Johnson's impressions of the Clippers and why the Lakers need consistently strong performances from Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

--The Times' Ben Bolch dives into how NBA teams and players have handled a frenetic free agency period and training camp overlapping.

--The Times' Broderick Turner explains why Clippers guard Randy Foye isn't worried about his future. 

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr and Kevin Ding focuses on Kobe Bryant relishing Mike Brown's criticism. 

--Fox Sports ranks the Lakers as the sixth-best team in the NBA. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky argues the Lakers should pursue Gilbert Arenas. 

--Sheridan Hoops' Mark Heisler muses over the Clippers' stealing attention away from the Lakers. 

--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe says Chris Paul has already arrived with the Clippers. 

--Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum ranks Derek Fisher in ninth place among aging veterans. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne explores Bryant's leadership qualities. 

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford explains why Bryant feels fine with Brown criticizing him.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell explains how Bryant and Brown bond over hard work. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's Ben R. breaks down the Lakers' offense. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano previews the Lakers-Clippers matchup. 

Tweet of the Day: "Let's remember Kobe has around clock training staff that he swears by. Might be only person not concerned" -- DuranLA (710 ESPN's Beto Duran)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "With the Lakers potential of a slow start to the season....I guess we could see more of 'Kobe taking over' with 'more' minutes than he should be playing for such an ardous season. It will be hard for Coach Brown to stick to his game and season plan if the Lakers are falling behind in the standings." -- John Fatland

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Magic Johnson, clockwise from left, says the Lakers will need Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to play their best for the team to be successful. Credits: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times; Paul Buck / EPA; Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Magic Johnson says Kobe, Gasol, Bynum need to step up

Fabforum

The Clippers are coming, the Clippers are coming!

In case the Clippers' dismantling of the Lakers on Monday night didn't set off warning bells for Lakers fans, Magic Johnson willingly helped the process by providing what the Lakers needed for a winning season.

Granted, it was only an exhibition game that the Clippers won Monday, 114-95, but Johnson said Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum needed to have incredible seasons for the Lakers to excel.

"What Kobe has to look to now is look to get Bynum and Gasol going," Johnson said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. "He’s going to need help, especially this season more than any season for them to be really one of the best teams win a championship. Those two guys have got to have banner years.

"At 16 years now ... we can’t expect Kobe to carry the load the way he used to. Night in and night out he can’t [guard] the best player on the other team and then expect to go out and still get 25 to 30 points."

Bryant also needed to fill the friendly teammate role held by Lamar Odom the last seven seasons. Odom was traded last week to Dallas.

"I think he's going to have to be more of an emotional leader," Johnson said. "Not just a game-time leader to score points and play defense. He’s going to have to be a locker-room leader. He’s going to have to really pick guys up and probably do stuff he’s never really done before, and that’s really in practice get these guys going, in the locker room get these guys going because the one guy that did that is now gone, and that’s Lamar Odom. You’re going to miss him in the practices and in the locker room and on the airplane and on the buses. Who’s going to replace him being that leader? The way I see it, it has to be Kobe."

Continue reading »

Magic Johnson: Bad decision by NBA, Stern

Fabforum

The Lakers were prevented from getting their most dynamic point guard since Magic Johnson, a blocked attempt that stunned NBA followers everywhere.

Even Johnson was irritated by the veto of the Chris Paul trade.

"Wrong decision by Stern & the owners," Johnson posted on Twitter on Friday. "Sends a bad message to fans. Was a good deal for the Lakers, Hornets & Rockets-everyone got better."

Johnson later added: "Lakers fans should be very upset. Love them or hate them, people will always watch the Lakers."

Johnson sold his ownership stake in the Lakers, about 4.5%, last season, but he still holds a title as a Lakers executive vice president.

He made recent headlines by saying the Lakers were the third-best team in the Western Conference, behind Dallas and Oklahoma City, and that changes to the roster were necessary if they wanted to win a championship.

ALSO:

League blocks Chris Paul trade

David Stern explains why he blocked trade

Lakers' deal for Chris Paul is killed by the NBA

--Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Magic Johnson. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

Magic Johnson predicts Lakers won't win NBA Finals

It's indisputable that Magic Johnson continues to dazzle fans, with his storied player legacy, still surviving HIV and remaining involved in various business projects including a possible bid for the Dodgers. 

He also divides Laker fans. As an analyst on ESPN, he predicted that the Celtics would win the 2010 NBA Finals and called for Lakers owner Jerry Buss to "blow this team up" even before their sweep to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Western Conference semifinals became official. And now there's this: Johnson predicts that the Lakers won't even make it to the 2012 NBA Finals.

"The Lakers are not the best team in the West," Johnson said on a recent ESPN roundtable segment. "Dallas first, Oklahoma City, second." 

"Magic, you don't want Kobe getting more rings than you," ESPN NBA reporter Chris Broussard jokingly retorted. "That's what it is."

"No, he can get more rings," Johnson said with a laugh. "But I don't think he's going to get more rings with this current roster."

Continue reading »

Mitch Kupchak believes Magic Johnson would be successful Dodgers owner

The ball rests firmly in Magic Johnson's hands, and it appears he's on the verge of performing something of epic proportions.

And for once, this has nothing to do with one of Johnson's many no-look passes. It has everything to do with Johnson's intention to buy the Dodgers. Somehow Johnson found a way to enhance his Los Angeles legacy when he's already provided enough of a foundation already. 

When Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak heard the news Thursday at the Lakers' practice facility, he unflinchingly said, "He would be a great owner." The reasons go beyond winning five NBA championships and winning over L.A., though that's part of it. Johnson's proved through his business ventures with the Lakers, Starbucks and Detroit City Partners that he brings the same enthusiasm and competiveness as an owner as he did as an NBA star.

"I know he's sitting on a pile of cash, which is maybe why I take his calls as often as I do," Kupchak joked about Johnson, who sold his 4.5% ownership stake of the Lakers last October. "He's been incredibly supportive as an owner. Never once during our conversations did he say, 'Mitch, this is what you should do.' We talked basketball. He would make suggestions and he would ask me what I thought."

RELATED:

Magic Johnson talks about possibly owning an NFL team or the Dodgers

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Magic Johnson reportedly to play in Obama Classic

Magic Johnson

This White House visit was supposed to commemorate the Lakers for winning the 2009 NBA championship. But it also provided President Barack Obama a chance for taking a dig at Magic Johnson for losing to his beloved team, the Chicago Bulls, in the 1991 NBA Finals.

""You remember that Magic," Obama said. "You know, they won the first game and they were feeling cocky. And [John] Paxson was hitting all those shots."

As Obama then mimicked Michael Jordan's legendary up-and-under shot, Johnson could do nothing but laugh at the criticism. But now the Lakers' great has a chance to fire back. As reported by ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher, Johnson will be among the participants playing Dec. 12 in in the "Obama Classic" -- an exhibition game/fundraising event for President Obama's reelection campaign that will feature plenty of NBA players at an undetermined venue in Washington D.C.

Bucher reported it remains unclear whether Obama will actually suit up himself. But making a game-winner or at least holding his own at 52-years-old should provide enough ammunition for Johnson to trash talk back toward the president. 

RELATED:

Lakers part of all the president's men during White House visit

Derek Fisher to play in 'Obama Classic'

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo credit: Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images 

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