Today, the Los Angeles News Group launched its list of the “50 Most Powerful in L.A. Sports.” The list includes Magic Johnson, Mark Walter, Vin Scully, Clayton Kershaw, Stan Kasten, Mike Scioscia, Yasiel Puig and Andrew Friedman. Dodgers advisor Ned Colletti ranks among the “fallen five.”
During his acceptance speech, he compared San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner to former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird:
“There’s only one person that I hate, love and respect and that’s Larry Bird. I hated him. I loved him. And I respected him so much that I knew if I made a mistake, he would get me the next year. Well, I now have the second person right in front of me – Madison Bumgarner. I hate him because he plays for the Giants and beats us. I love him because he’s so good. And I respect him because he’s such a competitor and his will to win is off the charts.”
For those who question if it’s possible to own two teams in the same market, look no further than Detroit.
Los Angeles is not Detroit, of course, and it might be time to start asking questions in Southern California. Magic Johnson has reportedly expressed interest in buying the NBA’s Clippers from disgraced owner Donald Sterling. What would it look like if the Dodgers and Clippers were owned by the same group?
Fans already boo Clippers star Chris Paul whenever he’s shown on the video board at Dodger Stadium. Pau Gasol and other Lakers are cheered like the hometown team. Clearly, Dodger Stadium is a Laker stadium. This might get weird.
Or will it? If Johnson is the face of Dodger ownership, he’s also the face of the WNBA’s Sparks and Magic Johnson Theaters. His name is not synonymous with the Dodgers; it’s synonymous with “multiple business interests.” In theory, it should be easy to put the Clippers in the context of Another Magic Johnson Business Interest. Same goes for the other Guggenheim investors; it’s yet to be seen how many of them want in on the Clippers.
In practice, how weird this gets might depend on why Dodger fans boo Clipper players. Is it a knee-jerk reaction to the Clipper brand from Laker fans? Is it because of Sterling? Is it just a Chris Paul thing?
Sterling might be replaceable; we’ll find out soon enough. Paul’s time as a Clipper is inherently temporary. But if it’s a knee-jerk reaction from Laker fans, this might not go over well.
Johnson was a minority owner of the Lakers until 2010, when he sold his shares to Patrick Soon-Shiong, but that didn’t really change his status as a face of (and a mouthpiece for) the Lakers franchise. A world in which Magic Johnson owns the Clippers could be an uncomfortable one for Laker fans. This could be perceived as heel turn worse than Phil Jackson joining the Knicks’ front office.
Johnson said last October in Atlanta that Los Angeles can be both a Lakers town and a Dodgers town. Selling Dodger fans on the idea that this can be a Clipper town too might be beyond even Johnson’s long reach.
Some bullet points for an International Astronomy Day: