Report: Stephen A. Smith Eyes Magic Johnson Partnership on ESPN's NBA Programming

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 26, 2021

Magic Johnson accepts the lifetime achievement award at the NBA Awards on Monday, June 24, 2019, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Stephen A. Smith wants to work alongside Magic Johnson on ESPN's NBA Countdown, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.

Marchand reported Smith ideally would work with Johnson and Michael Wilbon in the pregame show that sets up the NBA Finals.

There has already been a significant shakeup with ESPN's NBA programming under the new Senior VP/Production David Roberts. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported The Jump has been canceled and Rachel Nichols will not return to broadcasts while Max Kellerman has been moved on from First Take.

According to Marchand, Smith wanted Kellerman off the morning show.

Smith, who signed a five-year, $60 million contract last year, is now seemingly looking to use his influence on other ESPN programs.

Johnson previously worked on NBA Countdown and other ESPN shows from 2008-13 but left the network before becoming the Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations. Smith showed his excitement at the time for his friend getting the job. Johnson stepped down from that position in 2019.

The 62-year-old is best known for his playing career as a Hall of Famer and five-time NBA champion with the Lakers.

Magic now reportedly has an opportunity to return to television and could spend time on NBA Countdown as well as guest appearances on First Take, per Marchand.