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Old 10-21-2013, 04:42 PM   #43
Andrew Wiggins
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Default Re: Sources: Bill Simmons is the reason Magic Johnson left ESPN

as expected this report was bullshit

Quote:
SI.com: Deadspin reported last Thursday, via unnamed sources, that you were responsible for Magic Johnson being removed from Countdown. What is your response to that assertion?

Simmons: Those unnamed "sources" are liars. Someone planted a fake story to try to make me look bad, and there's a 99.3 percent chance it came from someone in Bristol (which presents its own set of concerns). I was upset; I can't lie. Maybe this happens to people more often than I realize, and maybe it comes with the territory, but man ... I can't properly explain how fantastic it was to watch basketball with Magic for nine months. I brought my dad to our show for the whole day once and he absolutely loved it. He just couldn't believe they paid me to watch hoops with Magic. One of Magic's best qualities is that he always makes an outsider like that feel special and [feel as if] they connected with him -- I probably watched him do it with 50 people last year. To see Magic do that for my father was something else.
He's just an amazing person. When [Johnson's agent] Lon [Rosen] told me Magic was leaving, I actually got pissed at myself that I didn't appreciate those nine months more. Our interview with LeBron after Game 7 [of the NBA Finals] -- seeing the affection that LeBron and Magic had for one another, getting LeBron to open up a little, and being part of that moment in NBA history -- was one of the five or six highlights of my career. Jimmy Kimmel wanted me to write a book about a season watching basketball with Magic -- he was endlessly fascinated that I spent 8-12 hours a week with someone like that. Magic is a story jukebox. We'd be bored sitting there watching some sh-- game and I'd liven things up by asking, "Magic, what was the best fight you ever saw in a game?" and he'd pause dramatically, then he'd launch into some awesome five-minute story and do all the voices and everything. Remember, Magic's life intersected with just about every relevant NBA player and celebrity from the past 40 years. He has an endless well of stories. I probably heard two percent of them. My wife had a running joke -- I'd come home from doing a show, walk through the front door and she'd immediately mock me in my voice (not hard to do), "I can't believe I get to work with Magic Johnson" before I even said anything.
I don't know if our show will be better or worse without Magic, but he certainly made the show feel bigger. He's one of the most famous people on the planet -- and the weight he carried with current players is just something we'll never be able to match. We'll never have a moment on our show again as special as that LeBron moment. Big picture, I know I'll be better on TV this season. I learned a ton last year and felt like I was coming at this season from a position of strength. I knew the Dodgers were becoming Magic's life; you could see it happening last spring. He loves being part of a team again. So I knew he'd leave, just not this soon. I wanted one more year with him.
Anyway, that's why the "report" upset me so much -- it wasn't just that someone made it up (and how disturbing that is), but how I felt in real life was the exact opposite of what that "report" portrayed. I felt blindsided when Magic left. I thought he was quitting on the show, and I guess on me, too. I took it personally. But then I thought about the whole Dodgers thing (and how into those games he was), and it made more sense and I got over it. Regardless, I will miss spending time with him every week. Jalen and I nicknamed him "Mogul" for "Hall of Fame Mogul." We were like little kids around him. In retrospect, maybe that wasn't the ideal dynamic for a studio show, but I thought we were getting better at challenging him while also respecting him and everything he accomplished. Year 2 would have been better than Year 1.


Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mor...#ixzz2iO543rwL
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