As a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson mastered the fast break. When he sped down the court, Johnson was a menace, threading the needle with pinpoint passes and draining jumpers with ease.
Now, it remains to be seen if Johnson can similarly carve up the competition in the bidding war for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The five-time NBA champion will contend against the likes of Joe Torre, Orel Hershiser, Mark Cuban, Larry King and Peter O'Malley to purchase the club. Although he doesn't have the baseball acumen of his counterparts, Johnson is the ideal fit for ownership.
A quick glance at his résumé illustrates his penchant for winning. During his 13-year career with the Lakers, Johnson collected five NBA titles, three NBA Finals MVPs, three NBA MVPs and 12 All-Star game nods.
His career cut short by an HIV diagnosis, Johnson had the potential to annihilate the record books. As the gold standard for excellence in athletics, he wouldn't expect anything less from the Dodgers' organization.
But Johnson understands his weaknesses. Despite attending many Dodgers games, he isn't exactly a baseball mastermind. That's why he aligned himself with former Braves and Nationals president Stan Kasten for this upcoming pursuit.
Kasten brings a polished pedigree to the table. In fact, very polished. Under his watch — from 1987 to 2003 — the Braves won a World Series, advanced to another title game and won more games than any other team in Major League Baseball.
"Stan Kasten is my man," Johnson told the L.A. Times last month. "He's a winner, he's built two incredible organizations, and he's well respected. That is what was important to me. I had to get with a winner, a guy who understands baseball inside and out."
Combine those two heavyweights and what do you get? As Charlie Sheen says — winning.
Let's not discredit Torre and Hershiser's accomplishments, though. Hershiser is a Cy Young award winner and a World Series champ with Los Angeles. Torre, a former Dodgers skipper, is even more decorated, having guided the New York Yankees to four World Series titles.
Neither of them has the pulse of Los Angeles quite like Johnson. In addition to shining as a sports figure, Johnson is also an entertainment icon. Appearances on movies or television programs are routine for him.
His magnetic personality will attract a variety of fans to the ballpark. His magnetic personality will increase the national media coverage. And his magnetic personality will help the team recruit prized free agents.
"I would have been at Albert Pujols' house at 12:01 a.m. on the first day of free agency," Johnson said.
That desire spilled over into his productive endeavors as an entrepreneur. Shortly after his playing career ended, he built Magic Johnson Enterprises, which includes a chain of movie theaters and production companies. The company reportedly has a net worth of $700 million.
Whatever Johnson touches turns to gold. His wisdom in business, his connection to Los Angeles and his athletic background all validate his candidacy as the best-rounded owner to take over for Frank McCourt next season.
If it happens, the magic will definitely be back in Dodgers Stadium.
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