NBA legend Magic Johnson announced Thursday (October 11) that he was leaving ESPN, where he has appeared since 2008 as a basketball analyst on “NBA Countdown.” In a statement, Magic said he was leaving due to other commitments, but a report claims he actually called it quits due to fellow analyst Bill Simmons.
A source tells Deadspin that Simmons has essentially been handed control of “NBA Countdown.” Magic was reportedly unhappy when co-host Michael Wilbon’s role on the show was diminished.
Both Johnson and Simmons have released statements, saying a feud between them doesn’t exist and that there are no hard feelings on either side. “I loved getting to know Magic these past 12 months and was saddened to hear about his decision,” Simmons says, adding that Johnson is his friend and he was working ideas that could lead to them working together in the future. Meanwhile, Magic’s agent reiterates that the two are friends and says they informed Simmons of Johnson’s departure before the announcement.