There’s no ‘Magic’ PR solution to the Dodgers’ problems

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Magic Johnson can right to the front of the line and buy up all the Starbucks, Fatburger, TGIFridays, 24 Hour Fitness and movie theatre franchises that city limits will allow.

Just don’t go be going all grande latte on the Dodgers’ franchise.

Take your best shot at hosting a late-night TV talk show.

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Just don’t get cozy escorting guest celebrities into those box seats next to the home team dugout and leading everyone in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” up on Diamondvision screen.

Throw your cap into the ring someday and run for mayor of Los Angeles.

Just don’t let us see you put on a blue L.A. cap and go running around Chavez Ravine pretending you know more about running a major league baseball team than Frank McCourt.

Johnson’s proclamation Friday that he’s about to loft a baby hook shot at MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, seeking his approval to be part of a Dodgers ownership group, makes as much sense as Sandy Koufax deciding he needs to take over the Lakers.

At least Koufax played college basketball.

There’s hundreds of thousands of billions of reasons why there’s a statue of Magic Johnson outside Staples Center, a place he never played, and not one of him outside Dodger Stadium, a place he’s visited but surely never stood at the concession stand for a Dodger Dog.

The fact that Magic says he’s sifted through the applications of six potential ownership groups and decided to align himself with a bunch of global financiers known as the Guggenheim Partners, who boast to having more than $125 billion in assets, only shows only that he’s been doing some wise political networking.


Which group could use the best spokesperson? And, down the line, the most lucrative business partners?

Dennis Gilbert may be the most day-to-day visible potential owner, with Larry King’s star power now behind him.

Orel Hershiser and Steve Garvey might be the most obvious former Dodgers player combo with a stake in making a comeback. Same with Peter O’Malley and Fred Claire from the former Dodger front offices trying to pull something together.

Yet Mark Cuban might be the single most intriguing candidate with a NBA championship on his resume.

Even the guy who runs the small real estate boutique in Beverly Hills and is trying to organize the OwnTheDodgers.com citizens campaign has a decent business model working here.

But as the list grows by the hour of credible businessmen who are apt to step up and lend their names, and wallets, toward ownership of the Dodgers, Magic Johnson can’t be taken seriously.

He might not even make the list of the Top 32 who we’d feel comfortable with taking a lead role in this game of musical chairmen of the board.

One of the city’s most popular and gregarious athletic figures figures he can just drive up to Chavez Ravine, flash his smile, and start phoning free agents to sell them on coming to L.A. to play baseball?

“I’m a big baseball fan,” Johnson told ESPN on Friday. “And you think about what the Dodgers have meant to baseball and to Los Angeles, and that part’s a no-brainer. … I’ve been to that place (Dodger Stadium) hundreds and hundreds of times.”

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So has Kobe Bryant. At least dozens of times. Maybe more than once.

We’ve been to Jiffy Lube down the street from our house hundreds of times as well. As much as we’ve felt that we’ve made an investment in the place, we have no visions of owning it.

This is the same Magic who a year ago sold his 4.5 percent share of the Lakers, worth about $30 million, so that he could make a bid in buying the Detroit Pistons?

What kind of smart business decision was that?

Magic says he’s involved with the Guggenheim Partners because Stan Kasten, the former president of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and MLB’s Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, threw him a lifeline.

Kasten lives in Atlanta. Mark Walter, the CEO of the Guggenheim Partners, lives in Chicago.

It’s as if they’re just in the next area code.

No wonder they thought wisely of how much attention Magic would bring to them with him as their brand name.

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The sale of the Dodgers could start next week in the bankruptcy courts. That’s much different than playing around on a basketball court.

“The timing is excellent,” Magic told ESPN. “I live here. I love it here.”

And we love you, too.

But not because your star power can get Karl Malone and Gary Payton to form the right side of the Dodgers’ infield.

Go ahead and be part of some kind of ownership group that’s trying to bring the NFL back to L.A. Start something new.

Just don’t be thinking blue. Not even in your most Starbucked, star-struck dreams.

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  • JamesMir11

    Mr. Hoffarth, if this is your argument as to why Magic shouldn’t be the owner, I want him as the owner of our team. Your argument is insufficient and surprisingly lacking. You can make the very same argument you made about Magic apply to Mark Cuban. He’s never been a baseball guy, much less LA guy, sure he’s got a championship, so does Magic (as a player, and as an owner of the Lakers), etc.