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Transcript: ABC & ESPN NBA Christmas Day Conference Call with Magic Johnson


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Earlier today, NBA Hall of Famer and KIA NBA Countdown analyst EarvinMagic” Johnson discussed NBA Christmas Day coverage on ABC and ESPN with members of the media. Here is the replay.


Q.         Wonder what your thoughts were as a player on the Christmas Day games, how much you enjoyed it and was there anything that maybe created an issue, maybe family‑wise playing on Christmas Day over the years?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Christmas Day was special because everybody is watching at home. That’s what I loved about Christmas Day because it shined the spotlight on the Lakers, on our team, and we knew that all of the other leagues were at home and millions of people were watching.

So it made it a special day to play on Christmas. It really didn’t create a problem for me. I was single most of those times, anyway. But it wouldn’t have created a problem even if I was married. I think that it’s just a special, special day in terms of Christmas Day and to be playing, representing your team and representing the NBA.

And I think that when you look at the ten teams that we have playing on Christmas Day, they all will enjoy this moment and they are going to play hard. They are going to play well and they are going to give NBA fans something to cheer about on a special day like Christmas.

Q.         Is there a Christmas Day game that stands out or a memorable performance that you had?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Not really. All of them are special. I don’t remember one over the other that really was better than the other one. I think that again, we just came out and we did our job and we played. We always like to have special games we look forward to whether it was Christmas Day or a playoff game or a big game against our rival or something like that.  We got up for games like that.

Q.         The people that you considered rivals and teams, it seems like it was an automatic given who these teams would play on Christmas and just throughout the year.  Do you feel as if the league is lacking in that department right now, and what do you see in terms of a rivalry standpoint and maybe why it’s not the way it was in the early 90s or the 80s?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Well, I think that the league has gotten back to the rivalries now. So many times we were promoting the individuals, and rightfully so. We should promote our great superstars.

But now what we are doing is we are promoting them as well as we are promoting the rivalries. We saw the Knicks and the Nets last night; we get a chance to see on Christmas, the Lakers and the Knicks, Brooklyn and Boston. And you know the Heat and the Thunder, that’s going to be a grudge match from last year because they played in the Finals. And so then you have the Rockets and Bulls and the Nuggets and Clippers, and they are two up‑and‑coming teams in the West.

So I think that’s what we want to get back to is the way basketball, to me, was built, and that’s on rivalries. Like in my day, we had us and the Celtics; you had Detroit and Chicago, the Bad Boys versus Michael Jordan. You had Philly and Boston which was a heated rivalry, Dr. Jay going up against Larry Bird. But the teams were great and I think that’s what it’s all about. Any time the Knicks played the Celtics – that was great.

What we are seeing now is the Knicks have a rivalry still with the Celtics, but now the Nets and also now with Miami. You see Chicago and Miami don’t like each other. And then out West, you’ve got the Lakers now very upset that the Clippers have taken over L.A. in terms of getting a lot of the publicity because the Lakers are not playing well. And so, then the Thunder and Lakers, they don’t like each other, Dallas and the Lakers don’t like each other.

So we are starting to form rivalries. That is good for the league and I think that’s what makes the NFL really a special league because of their rivalries. Now we are starting to get back to that in the NBA, and that’s what makes our fans come out to see our game, because now they can see Chris Paul, but also Chris Paul up against their rival, whether it be the Lakers or whoever else; San Antonio doesn’t like the Lakers, and on and on and on.

So that’s how we are going to build our league and I think the fans really, truly enjoy that.

Q.         Want your take on the Lakers and Knicks, how much of an impact will Steve Nash make on this team?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Well, I think first, he will make a big impact on the team. They need a leader out there. They need a floor leader and Steve Nash is one of the greatest that’s ever done it in terms of point guard and also a floor leader at the same time.

And I think he will help on both – calling the plays, getting the guys in easy scoring positions, as well as he can add some scoring himself. I think the point guards that the Lakers are having now, they are so inconsistent and then they don’t know how to really lead the guys.

But when Steve comes back, he can do that. And then he’ll make, Gasol better and Dwight Howard better; he knows how to work the pick‑and‑roll, he’s a master at the pick‑and‑roll. So I think he’ll give them a lot of easy buckets.

And then I think the team will feel better about themselves and I think they need that right now, and probably make Coach D’Antoni’s job a lot easier, as well.

The Lakers and Knicks, wow. You have one team who has almost the best record in all of basketball, talking about the Knicks, and another team trying to find their identity in who they are – being the Lakers. That could be a big game from the Lakers.

I think it would be bigger for the Lakers if they can win it because I think that can maybe jumpstart something great for them and then maybe they can build on, if they can beat the Knicks. And for the Knicks, you just want to continue on, because you’ve been having a great season and really show people that you are really serious about winning a championship this season.

So I think that for the fans around the world and around the country, this is going to be a game that everybody is going to want to see. And when you come behind that with the Heat and Thunder. Wow, what a back‑to‑back two games on ABC.  That’s powerful right there. So I’m actually looking forward to all of the games but I’m looking forward to those two, especially.

Q.         Can you talk about the struggle with the Lakers, how much of that is they just didn’t have Pao and Nash; was it a crisis or they just didn’t have their players?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Well, it’s a combination of both. You can’t just say it’s just because Steve Nash and Gasol weren’t in there because Gasol was playing a lot of that. He’s only missed the last couple weeks.

I think that the Lakers, we knew they were going to struggle because they didn’t know each either and they had to become comfortable with each other and also become a team. All of the teams that they were playing are great teams, when you think about the West and what they have gone up against.

I’ve said all along that the Lakers would be better in the second half of the season. I think that’s going to happen and I think that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with. I feel sure that the Thunder are the best team in the West, and the Clippers are right behind them. I think those two are one and two right now, and I think that Memphis and San Antonio are running right behind them, and then you have a team like the Lakers. But I think that you never know what’s going to happen in the second half of the season.

And no team is going to want to play the Lakers in the playoff because that team is talented, they know how to win, and they will be a scary team still to face in the playoff.  But if they can get it together in the second half of the season, they can make a great run for the Western Conference Finals.

Q.         What’s your take on the Clippers?  They have won 11 in a row.  Are they a legitimate contender this year?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  This team is for real, led by one of the ‑‑ I think the best point guards we have in the game today, Chris Paul. Chris is on a mission to win a championship. That’s one thing that he doesn’t have. I also want to congratulate him for going over 5,000 assists, as well.

But I think the pieces they added, when you think about Jamal Crawford, you think about guys like when Grant Hill is coming back, Lamar Odom, these guys; that bench is going to be so solid, especially led by Bledsoe, who I think is really playing great basketball this season. And they still have to get Mr. Big Shot back into the fold.

And once he comes back, I think that they are really going to be awesome, because I think Chauncey, he’s a guy that’s won a championship, a guy that knows how to perform under that type of pressure, and knows how to also lead the team in terms of when Chris is not on the floor. They are going to need somebody like Chauncey to continue to lead their team.

So I like what I’m seeing from the Clippers. I think the one area that they have to improve on is their defense, and once they match the defense with their offense and their fast break, yeah, they can win it all. I mean, you think about the play of Jordan. And I haven’t even mentioned Blake. I mean, it’s just tremendous, the team that they have, and I’m just blown away by their commitment to each other and their commitment to winning, and this is a serious team.

Q.         Do you buy into the theory that the Heat are bored with the regular season, won’t be fully motivated until the playoffs, and was that an issue with your teams and with Pat in the teams in the 80s?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  No, we never got bored.  And I don’t buy into that they are bored, because that can work against them later on. I think that people are not giving the league credit for being better this season, that’s what it is.

So when you think about the east, Brooklyn is better. The Knicks are better. You’ve got young teams like Milwaukee, they are better. So once Andrew Bynum gets back to Philly, they are better. And then in the West, teams are better.  I mean, so the league is better as a whole.

And then I think that the Heat are finding out, why is it that everybody, every night ‑‑ it’s different when you’re chasing a championship as opposed to when you are the champion. Because now, you make everybody’s season, so they are going to play extra hard when they are playing the champions.

So that’s what the Heat are facing right now. Where last year, they didn’t have to worry about that because they were not the champs, they were chasing the Championship. Now this year they are the champs and there are no nights off for the Heat. Normally they would have nights off because they were so much better than the teams they were facing and then they would just beat them because of their talent.

But now when you come in and maybe you’re a little tired and you’re not up for the game, those teams are up for you, and they know if they beat you again, that makes their season. And so that’s what they are facing, the expectations of being the champion and what goes along with being a champion.

I think they are going to be fine. They are still the best team in the East. They are so talented. They’ve got the best all‑around player in the world in LeBron James. You’ve got a guy who to me is the ultimate pro and will be there as long as he stays healthy and that’s Dwyane Wade because he’s still a big‑game player. I think one of the best big‑game players we have in basketball. And then Chris Bosh is always consistent. I thought they did a wonderful job of picking up Ray Allen, because the bigger the games, the better he performs, especially in the playoffs.

And, you know, they are going to be fine. I think that people are excited about what’s happening in the Knicks and other teams, and sometimes the Heat don’t get mentioned as much, but everybody knows that at the end of the day, the Championship runs go through the Heat, and if anybody wants to go to the Finals, especially in the East, they have to go through the Heat. That’s why we know that they are the best team and I think the New York Knicks are the second best team in the East.

Q.         I wanted to ask you about the Lakers and what they are becoming in your mind, or what you want them to become.  You said they were going to be a force to be reckoned with.  Well, what will their personality be?  What do you want it to be, the best defensive team in the league or ‑‑

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Well, they are never going to be that. But they can be a good defensive team. They don’t have to be, you know, the best, because that’s a lot to ask of this team.

But as long as they can be a good defensive team, you know, I think that when I say they are going to be a force, once they get it together and once they start playing up to their abilities and their talent, I think they will be a force to be reckoned with.

And again, we saw this with Boston. People forget, last year Boston didn’t have a tremendous season, and even the season before that. But they went to the Finals in terms of the Eastern Conference Finals, because they have veterans and veterans who know and understand how to perform at a high level in the playoffs.

And I think that the Lakers will do the same thing. They can go on the road and be the team in the playoffs, but they have to, first of all, understand who they are and what ‑‑ they have to figure – out what’s their idea; are they going to be a fast breaking team or are they going to be this team that runs up and down and do it with consistency? Or are they going to ‑‑ you know, so they really have to find themselves on who they are.

And then I think you make a good point on defense; they have to be better, a lot better. Right now, you know, they stink on defense. And they have to get so much better on defense if they are going to compete against ‑‑ the West. They are so good and dangerous right now. If the Lakers are going to compete against Oklahoma City and if they are going to compete against the Clippers, against the Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors are playing great against these type of teams, San Antonio – they are going to have to be a much better defensive team.

Q.         Do you imagine that’s going to happen on the offensive end?  Will that style work?  Will that template work?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Nobody knows. Nobody knows right now. Even I don’t know. I don’t think it’s going to work because they don’t have fast break guys. They don’t have guys who are guys who get out on the wing, get out on the break and run. Metta World Peace is not an on‑the‑wing, running‑up‑and‑down‑the‑court player.

You know, Kobe is a great wing man but that’s about it. And the fast big men, they run pretty good. So this is going to be the key of how Coach D’Antoni and his system and the style he likes to play, how will he incorporate it with this type of talent? The talent is not suited for a fast break offense.

Q.         You went through a personal crisis where you received a lot of support from fans and other athletes and people in sports; when something happens like Newtown, how important is it for athletes and fans and sports in general to show support like Jeter did and some other players; how important is that?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Well, I think it’s important. I think that, first of all, nobody wants to see what happened there happen.  And I think that the guys, some of them are fathers and some of them are not, but they probably thought about their own kids when they saw that happening.

And then when you think about a lot of those kids, because living in Connecticut, they were big, whether it’s Yankees fans or Red Sox fans. I saw that one of them was a big Victor Cruz fan and a Giants fan and Cruz was able to visit the family. That even made me feel good that he was able to do that. And so it says a lot about sports and what it can do. It says a lot about the guys, because nobody in the world, not just America, nobody in the world, wants to see anything like that happen.

And for those guys to reach out and talk to the families, help the families, and try to make sure that, you know, they can help them, help ease their pain in any way that they can, it says a lot about really those individuals and as well as sports.  Because sports can give us our highs of highs and make us feel better, make us feel good; and also it can bring our lowest of lows, when we are cheering for our teams and then if they win we are up high and if they lose, sometimes we are low.

But the fact that we can watch it and get away for a minute or two hours is good. It’s going to hurt forever, anybody losing a child or a nephew or a niece or a grandchild or a cousin, they are going to hurt forever. If those guys can bring them, just a little comfort it’s a good thing.

Q.         On a little lighter note, when you talk about rivalries before, the Knicks have blown out Miami in two games so far. In your experience when the Lakers were champs, and an up‑and‑coming team, the Knicks would come out and really take you guys to town, what is Miami’s mindset going forward when they play the Knicks in the regular season and the postseason, are they looking at them with new respect and have to change their game plan?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  It doesn’t mean anything. Because the only time it means something is when it’s in the playoffs.

So you have to remember, we got beat by San Antonio, I think they beat us every Game 1 year and we faced them in the playoffs, and then we swept them. You know, we were up. So we were ready for them, you know.

So we have to remember, it doesn’t mean anything. It means more to the Knicks than it really does for the Heat. But also, the Heat know that they do have serious competition, though, and this team is for real. The Knicks are for real.

And if they think that they were just going to walk into the Championship just because they were the Miami Heat, now they know that that’s not going to happen; the Knicks actually woke the Heat up to say that they have real serious competition.  I’m excited because as a sports fan and NBA fan, I’m really happy that that happened, because you know, now we have something to talk about, and I think fans across the country are talking about it, too.

But to the Heat, it doesn’t mean anything, because the one thing that they know is that they can win and that when they get to playing the defense they can play, at the end of the day, the Heat are the best defensive team in basketball when they get after you. But the Knicks are proving that they can play defense as well.

So are the Knicks legitimate in terms of they can beat the Heat in the playoffs? Yes. But does it mean anything today to the Heat? No. In the playoffs, it’s going to mean a lot. So I think that they are headed on a collision course. I think they will meet for the Eastern Conference Finals, and then everybody, buckle up and get ready, because it will be one of the best Eastern Conference Finals that we’ve seen in a long time. Because if Amare comes back healthy and right, the Knicks can go all the way. Yes, they can beat the Heat if the Heat is not playing on top of their game.

Q.         Earlier this year Rajon Rondo tied John Stockton for the second‑longest double‑digit assist streak.  You have the record, I think it’s at 46 games.  I was wondering if you knew about this record when you said it, or when you found out, that you even had this record.

MAGIC JOHNSON:  I didn’t even know it.  (Laughing).

Q.  You did not know until I told you about it?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  No, I knew after ESPN ran it ‑‑ they were keeping the count on Rondo, and they had me up there as No. 1.  I did not know that they had that record.

You know, I never played for records. I just played for the Championship. But I’m happy that Rondo ‑‑ Rondo has done a lot for bringing back the classic point guard. And now us and the media are paying attention to records like that, but also players like Rondo, making sure that the point guard is getting the spotlight once again.

So Rondo has been tremendous and, also, too, Rondo has done a wonderful job of making us realize that the triple double is a tough feat. He is awesome. I think if the Celtics are going to be the team that they want to be ‑‑ I’ve said this the last few times that:  Rondo, not only does he have to get a lot of assists, but he’s going to have to score more.

Q.  Where would you rank him as the point guard in the league?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  First of all, to me, Rondo is the best all‑around. There’s nobody even close to him as far as all‑around, when you think about scoring, rebounding, assists, he’s No. 1. I think a pure point guard, Chris Paul, and he’s right there with Deron Williams. Rondo, Deron Williams, all those guys are right there together. It’s amazing when you think about the crop of point guards we’ve got. But I would say Rondo is the best all‑around point guard we have in the league.

Q.  And Paul Pierce scored 40 points last night.  What makes him such a prolific scorer at his age?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Well, because he’s playing now, he’s had the talent and he’s playing smarter at the same time.  That’s what makes him able to score 40 at the age that he’s at, because he can score in so many different ways, he can score on the fast break. He can score in the half court. He can come off picks and shoot it. He can go one‑on‑one and beat you and score. He’s a great free throw shooter. He can beat you in so many different ways, but he’s so smart and also, too, not a lot of effort to do it; that’s what makes him so great. It’s one move, one pump‑fake and he’s right in the area that he wants to score. I mean, he’s one dribble away or he can catch and shoot. This guy is just unbelievable.

The Celtics, and also the City of Boston should be happy they have a guy like Paul Pierce. He’s definitely a Hall of Famer.  His jersey will definitely go up in the rafters there, and he’s just ‑‑ it seems like every year, he’s just got better and better and better and better, and I think that Rivers is a perfect coach for him, and I just love Paul because Paul represents. He’s like an old throwback guy. He can play in our era. He’s a special talent.

Q.  You know he grew up a Laker fan.

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Yeah, Paul is like a little brother. I’ve played pickup games with Paul when he was up‑and‑coming, so it’s great to see him put all that work in himself to make himself one of the greatest that’s ever played the game.

So I just sit back and just smile because I saw him put the time in, ask the questions, and he did it all on his own, so he deserves a lot of credit.

Q.          I wanted to ask your favorite memories of playing on Christmas

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Well, I told somebody earlier that I loved it, I absolutely love playing on Christmas. I knew that everybody was at home watching me and the Lakers play. I knew that the NFL, MLB, all those guys were at home watching us play. You were on center stage, and just go out and just do your thing, and we wanted to also win as a team, as well.

So it was just I think a great moment for us to always play on Christmas Day. All of the games were special. It wasn’t one that was more special than the other, but I just think that when you are a competitor and when you are a guy that loves to compete and play, there’s no other game that you want to play in than on Christmas Day.

Q.  How did you conduct your Christmas routine on those days?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  I usually did Christmas in terms of, opening gifts the day before and then just went about my business really. And then if I was on the road, then I would do it after I got back home. If it was at home, then I would do it the day before but get it out of the way early in the morning and then it’s done and then I get back into my frame of mind of getting ready for the game.

Q.  On today’s point guards, to me, it seems like point guards have almost taken on the role that shooting guards used to, how big they are, and also taking a lot more jump shots. There’s been a lot made of someone like a Westbrook and how many shots he takes but also how much he’s improved on his mid‑range jump shot.  But point guards also have the ball in their hands a lot more and are expected to score more; how in your opinion does that differ from your era and what you saw when you were playing?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Well, I think that they don’t really have the ball more in the hands than we did but what they do, the other point, it was valid that they do score more.

Well, you know what, I go back. You’re right. You’re right. They do have it more in their hands, and it’s more isolations and it’s more pick‑and‑rolls the majority of the time and so you’re absolutely right. They do have it more in their hands than what we used to do. They are vital ‑‑ they are probably, you know, a lot of times now the first, second option, when I played, that was not the key. We relied more on our big men, they were the first options.

But now in today’s game, the point guard could be the first option or definitely the second options on their team in terms of scoring and then they are shooting 20‑some times a game. That was unheard of in my day for a point guard to shoot that many times. But this is what makes teams win. You have to be strong at one, two or three; so you’re shooting guard, point guard and your small forward. That’s how really the Heat won.

And so, that’s the new wave of NBA, and so you take a guy like Russell Westbrook, we’ve never seen a point guard like him. There’s never been a guy more athletic than Westbrook, and in order for his team to win, they have got to ‑‑ they have to have him scoring and taking 20 shots, scoring over 20 points and then taking 20 shots. And so I think he’s doing a wonderful job.

And then you think about ‑‑ you know, you’ve got a guy like Rondo who is a walking triple‑double, and then you have Chris Paul who is more of a classic point guard where he’s always looking to give his teammates the shots that they need to have. He will look to score, really, last; he’s looking to pass first.

But the game is healthy, because we have great point guards. Derrick Rose, he’s another scorer; he has to score for the Bulls to win but he’s a great leader, too, at the same time. Then you have Deron Williams, who has to score, he has to look to score for the Nets to win.

I’m just happy that the point guard is back in the league now and we are shining light on them and our game will continue to grow and I think be great because of point guard play.

Q.  So much has been made of Carmelo Anthony and how he’s different, statistically when you look at him, I’ve watched the games and even a little bit of a difference, but the stats is largely the same of what he’s put up over his career and watching a couple of the games this season, what have you seen and do you feel like his game is different?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  It’s not about the stats. It’s about leadership and it’s about hustle and it’s also about making his teammates better. There it is right there. (Laughs).

It’s easy to see the difference in Carmelo. You know, making his teammates better, you know, leading now. He’s a leader now, where before, he never was a leader on his team. He played great but he never was the leader, but now he’s playing great and leading at the same time. And then he’s just really hustling on defense and rotating on defense and so he’s definitely the MVP right now.

The difference is before, he’s never had the best record in basketball, and he never had his team in a position to win the Championship. But now he does. And if he continues like he’s doing right now, I think he will definitely be right there with Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, those guys, LeBron James, they will all be up there for the MVP.

But right now, he’s definitely probably the leader of the pack right now because he has his team in first place in their division, the best record in the East and so that’s what an MVP is all about.

And so it’s not the stats. It’s just about the leadership and his teammates are feeding off of it, too.

Q.  Do you think the Lakers are losing their grip as the big team in L.A., and how do you feel about it?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  No, the Lakers are still the most popular team in L.A. I think that those other teams winning are great, but they won’t take over L.A. I mean, the tradition, people love the Lakers, everybody.

Most of the people love basketball and love the Lakers. The Clippers have got a long way to go to even think about ‑‑ you know how many championships the Clippers have to win to take over the town?  It would have to be probably ten, and the Lakers not winning one before that. That’s the closest thing to the Lakers are the Dodgers because they have won so many World Series and are still second at the time.

The Lakers still own L.A., and the season, there’s a long way to go. So I don’t think the town has given up on the Lakers.  I think it’s great that the Clippers are playing well. I think it’s great and it’s added a lot that the Kings won, and that the Galaxy won. It’s because you do have fans of hockey, you do have fans of soccer.

And I think that David Beckham did a wonderful job of shining light on the sport of soccer here in L.A. and in the United States. And then you’ve still got USC football and so then I think that UCLA, when they were playing great in basketball, you know, were a big factor.

At the end of the day, it’s a Laker town and will be a Laker town, even if the Lakers don’t win the Championship, it’s still going to be a Laker town.

Q.         So based on the year that you’ve experienced climbing on board with the Dodgers as the main thing, I wanted to let you know that the Daily News has named you, as well as Stan Kasten and Mark Walter, our 2012 Sports Person of the Year.

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Wow.  Thank you.

Q.  Wanted to get your reaction, how would you summarize your year, what’s been accomplished and what impact you think you’ve made in the last few months?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  The impact has been tremendous. Just I think getting the fans to understand that we want to win, and we are going to do what we have to do to get us in a position to win in terms of the Dodgers. We brought in nine new players last season, and signing two great pitchers, especially Zack Greinke, which is going to boost our rotation. Fans are very excited. They are very happy about the moves that we have made. Dodger pride is coming back.

So I think that Stan and Ned did a wonderful job of really working overtime to bring in all these new players and try to make sure that we can put a winner on the field every single night and hopefully bring a World Series back to Los Angeles.

So I feel it when I’m walking around the city, and people are really very, very excited, and we are doing some major renovations to the stadium right now, and so you know, it’s great to be Mark’s partner. And Mark has a vision for what he wants this team to look like and the organization to look like, and we are all on board on that vision and we are executing that vision right now, and the game plan and the strategy.

So I say thank you for Mark and for Stan, we are blown away, but we are excited at the same time and we say thank you for this.

Q.  How would you characterize your relationship with Stan and with Mark?  How do you fit together as a team?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Oh, we’re great, because first of all, we let Stan do his job. I mean, we are not baseball guys. Stan is a baseball man and he knows the game inside and out. We learned a lot from Stan. We both love baseball, Mark and I, and we want to win. So Stan’s job is to put us in a position to do that.

We are saying that we have an open checkbook and wallet but let’s still be disciplined at the same time. Let’s make sure it’s the right players and the right moves, and so we work well together because Stan, like I said, is incredible; and Mark and I are guys who love the game and love the Dodgers and come and we look at things and we see things that we want to improve on, and we tell Stan, and he gets right on it. He gives us the budget, what it’s going to cost, and Mark says okay and we okay it and then we start doing it.

And then we are giving back to the community and so it’s really great that the three of us work well together because there’s no egos involved.  We just want what’s best for the Dodger organization and our team and the fans.

Q.         Have you seen the new studio set that you’re going to be working on starting Tuesday?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  I’ve seen it but you know, still not the finished product, but yeah, I have seen it for sure.

Q.         What do you think about it?

MAGIC JOHNSON:  Oh, I’m excited. The gadgets, man, it’s going to blow people away. I can’t wait for Christmas Day.