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Magic Johnson Leaves ESPN’s NBA Coverage
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On October 10, 2013 @ 3:14 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson said Thursday he is leaving his job as an NBA analyst for ESPN. He will be replaced by veteran broadcaster Doris Burke.
“I don’t feel confident that I can continue to devote the time needed to thrive in my role,” he said in a news release.
Johnson, who is also part of the group that owns the Los Angeles Dodgers and runs his business empire, said in a statement that he loves ESPN but that his schedule and other commitments prevent him from continuing in his role, primarily on ESPN’s NBA Countdown.
“We appreciate Magic’s contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president of production. “We are in the process of determining our NBA commentator roles for the upcoming season.”
Burke will join NBA Countdown on Wednesdays during the season, ESPN confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. Sports Illustrated reported Burke’s new role first. She recently signed a multiyear contract extension with the network and will debut in the studio on Nov. 13.
This week, ESPN announced that Doug Collins will replace Michael Wilbon on NBA Countdown alongside Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose. Simmons replaced Jon Barry before last season.
Adding Burke is a change for the show, which previously avoided using a traditional studio host. Wilbon and Simmons, both writers rather than former players or coaches, held analyst roles rather than the host role Burke likely will take.
Johnson also thanked a slew of ESPN workers in his statement.
“I will always feel a strong connection to the ESPN family and I enjoyed working with them very much,” Johnson said. “I’d like to thank John Skipper, John Wildhack, Mark Gross, Kim Belton, Amina Hussein, Mark Summer, Adam Hertzog, Bob Rauscher, Stuart Scott, Mike Wilbon, Jon Barry, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons, Chris Broussard and the many others at ESPN for the wonderful opportunity to talk about the game I love. They are the best in the business.”
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