Magic Johnson sits with Frank McCourt during the during the Dodgers'… (Denis Poroy / Getty Images )
Free advice time, Magic Johnson edition:
Do not do it. Don’t ever prop up Frank McCourt again. And most definitely, do not sit next to him again at Tuesday’s home opener.
That was hard to watch, and just as difficult to understand.
Los Angeles almost universally opened its arms to the news that Magic’s group won the Dodgers’ bidding war for three reasons: 1) Magic is local sports icon; 2) he has spent the past 32 years living in Los Angeles; 3) his name is not Frank McCourt.
Now as someone from Los Angeles, Magic is supposed to have a clue as to how McCourt is perceived in this city. He is the most despised man in Los Angeles sports history, if not just Los Angeles history. Beloved as a drought.
Yet inexplicably, there was Magic sitting next to McCourt at the season opener in San Diego. Seemingly clueless to the fan rage aimed at the man who took the Dodgers into bankruptcy. Maybe he didn’t notice that sea of empty Dodger Stadium seats last season?
It’s bad enough that Magic made his nausea-inspiring comment about building on the “fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt.” The Times’ T.J. Simers was dead-on in criticizing his opening-day decision to be seen publicly with McCourt and asking: “Who is advising Magic?”
And to those who actually think Magic has to butter up McCourt because the deal is not complete, I am so sorry your application to the Groundlings Theater was turned down. Magic’s gang bid $500 million more than the next group. If anything, McCourt needs to kiss up to Magic.
Even a beloved figure like Magic only has so much goodwill in the bank. Fans are already upset Magic’s group spent a record $2.15 billion to buy the Dodgers yet somehow allowed McCourt to keep half interest in the parking lots.
Magic doesn’t owe McCourt anything, aside from a fat check. He doesn’t have to criticize him, there’s been plenty of that. But he doesn’t have to snuggle up to him either.
The best thing Magic can do is keep a healthy distance from McCourt. So, please, at the home opener, find a real fan to sit next to or wait until it’s your owners’ box.
[Updated at 4:15 p.m.: The Dodgers said Magic will not be at Tuesday's home opener because he is in New York for the opening of his play -- "Magic and Larry" -- on Broadway.
That is probably very fortunate timing for Magic, who now isn't put into the awkward position of having to decline any potential invite to the opener from McCourt.]
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To Magic Johnson: Don't make same Frank McCourt mistake at home