ESPN has confirmed the return of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, as a studio analyst on NBA Countdown. Johnson will first appear on ABC’s Christmas NBA coverage. From there, the NBA Hall of Famer will join NBA Countdown pre-game coverage for the NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC series – the NBA’s marquee game of the week, starting January 21, 2017. The Big Lead was first to report the story.
As part of his return, Johnson will be reunited with Michael Wilbon, who is also returning to NBA Countdown as an analyst this season on Saturday nights. The two men will be joined by NBA Countdown weekend host Sage Steele, who’s back for her 4th season on the show.
Magic previously worked for ESPN as an NBA studio analyst from 2008-2013. He was partners with Wilbon from 2011-2013. Previous reports claim that an internal rift with Bill Simmons contributed to Johnson’s decision to depart the network. Simmons strongly denies that, adding that Magic’s exit had more to do with the way ESPN mishandled Wilbon.