Given the way Magic Johnson’s playing days ended in the manner they did, wondering what should have been in regards to the back end of his career will forever remain a mystery. His business sense hasn’t missed a dribble though with his latest accomplishment placing him at the forefront of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership hierarchy. Upon announcing that his group (also featuring Golden State Warriors co-owner and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, Peter Guber) purchased the franchise which had been in the middle of a bitter divorce for $2B, Magic said this, “I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles.”
Still having to go through approval from federal bankruptcy court, a transfer is expected to come around the end of April. The deal marks the most recent feat from Magic now makes him the first African American co-owner in baseball’s history. Being from Virginia, there’s a chance I’m viewing this from a skewed viewpoint, but Magic appears to be the King of Los Angeles just as much for what he’s done off the court as he did as the leader of the Showtime Lakers in the 1980’s. Kobe Bryant is the present-day kingpin of LaLa Land, but his true impact around the city will come once he retires and if he’ll be content with “simply” being the franchise’s leading scorer and potential greatest player ever. Regardless, show some respect to Earvin for this power move. The man may have trouble putting words together at times, but the man knows how to produce dollar signs.
The real winner in all this, however, is Frank McCourt. He bought the franchise for $430M and flipped it for $2B by selling it to Los Angeles’ favorite son. With failures like that, who needs success?
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the spectrum, Dennis Rodman is, as Tupac once said, is “looking like Larry Holmes, flabby and sick.” The story of athletes who once held the world in their hands only to lose it all from ill decision making throughout the years is as common as athletes cheating on their wives (see Allen Iverson and Antoine Walker). According to a L.A. Times report, The Worm owes $808,935 in child support for his nine and 10 year old children he had with his third wife. And if those figures weren’t enough, he also owes over $51,000 in spousal support.
Right or wrong, the reality of the situation is while Dennis was always known as the league’s premiere oddball during his glory years, these reports make it easier to understand why his Hall of Fame speech was so emotional. The term “sick” is unclear at this point, but is largely expected to surface around Dennis’ alleged drinking problem. As Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer noted, Rodman, for as legendary as his career was, was never one of the NBA’s highest paid players until the 1996-97 season. Even then, he never earned his maximum potential based of suspensions and Bulls management weary of the way he carried himself. It’s easy to crack on the former rebounding wizard for his transgressions. His decisions ultimately put him in this position regardless of whether the child and spousal support numbers are fair.
What’s eerie to come to terms with is that we’re watching players dominate in their primes right now who will be in this exact same predicament in ten years, give or take. It never fails and when it happens we’re all going to reflect saying, “I remember when (insert name) was the truth. Now he fell off. Damn.” That’s the numbing part about having sports heroes. Once the lights go off and the jerseys are retired for good, most of these guys have no clue how to operate in real life.