Magic Johnson could be joining ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on “NBA Countdown”. The show leads up to nationally televised games both on ABC and ESPN. After a Maria Taylor departure, Smith could be a temporary host alongside Johnson and longtime friend and co-host of “Pardon the Interruption” Michael Wilbon.
Apart of “First Take”, Smiths hosts “SportsCenter” prior to games on Wednesdays, but it was noted that ESPN’s most prominent personality could face some hesitancy because “the league feels his style is to opinionated and not the right tone to lead into its main event.”
ESPN has several available candidates to have a wide range of cast members on the show highlighted by Richard Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins after “The Jump’s” cancellation. “NBA Countdown” already has Jay Williams, Jalen Rose, and Adrian Wojnarowski on deck.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Stephen A. Smith wants to form a “Big 3” with the 5x NBA Champion and Wilbon the longtime analyst. Johnson accumulated a ton of NBA memorabilia including 3 regular season MVPs and 3 postseason MVPS with the Lakers. Johnson was most recently associated with Los Angeles franchise serving as the president of basketball operations before abruptly stepping down in 2019.
Johnson has appeared on programs with Smith numerous times before since the pair has a strong connection. With the departure of Max Kellerman on “First Take” it’s no surprise, Johnson could visit as a rotating cast member. Johnson is unlikely to be found as a sparring partner, but Wilbon can place the debating at an engaging level.
For Michael Wilbon, he is an analyst for ESPN and has co-hosted “Pardon the Interruption” with Tony Kornheiser since 2001. Wilbon also typically appears alongside Smith and recently covered the NBA Finals.
ESPN also has interest in signing Draymond Green. Green has done work for TNT in the past, mostly covering the playoffs when an “Inside the NBA” crew member was absent. But after a promising draft and the potential return of Klay Thompson next season, the Warriors could succeed into the postseason with Green joining the mix occasionally.
The shakeup at ESPN is just the beginning after Maria Taylor left for rival NBC and Rachel Nichols’ weekday show “The Jump” was booted off the network.