On the national sports scene, nothing is bigger than the NFL brand at the moment.
But in Los Angeles, Magic Johnson is still the man, and he’s offering his assistance to whomever wants to bring football back to his city.
Johnson told Jarrett Bell of USA Today that he could envision becoming involved with whatever team ends up in L.A., whenever that happens.
The former Lakers great has stakes in the Dodgers, the WNBA Sparks and the city’s new professional soccer team, though he said he hadn’t been contacted by any of the NFL suitors.
“We helped the Dodgers rebound,” Johnson said. “We’re No. 1 in attendance in baseball; we’ve been that for the last two years. So we know how to take a franchise, elevate it and also sell it to the fans in Los Angeles.
“That’s going to be important to whoever the owner is, to make sure they have someone locally to sell the team to the local market.”
While that sounds self-serving on its face, the NFL has abandoned L.A. twice now, so Johnson’s insight to a town that he knows well could be valuable.
“I know how to do it,” Johnson said. “Whether it’s me or somebody else, I think it’s important. . . .
“Even if I’m not involved, I just want the suite. Seriously, I’m going to be the first one in line to get a suite. So whoever’s coming, even if I’m not a part of it, I’m going to buy my suite and I’m going to be there, just like I was at Raiders games and Rams games. If it’s the Raiders, the Rams, the Chargers – I don’t care who it is – I’m going to be there because I love the NFL and I love football.”
So getting that message out to Rams owner Stan Kroenke — whose stadium plans in Inglewood are near the old Forum where Johnson made so many memories — might be the first step in helping another franchise in town.