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Magic Johnson Bought The Dodgers Tonight

Well, sort of. Magic Johnson's purchase of the Dodgers hasn't actually happened yet. Barring weird developments, however, it will happen by April 30. And it's not quite accurate to say that Magic is buying the Dodgers, like, personally. He's one investor in a group whose real, big-bucks firepower comes from Guggenheim Partners, a financial firm based in Chicago. Not even Magic, for all his wealth, can just cut a check for $2 billion. Those caveats aside, however, many Angelenos got their wish tonight. Magic Johnson, the greatest Laker of all time, has become the face of our city's second-favorite (but still quite beloved) sports franchise.

If you haven't followed the saga of Frank and Jamie McCourt and their gargantuan fuck-ups as owners of the Dodgers, congratulations. As a fan of the D's, I have not been so lucky. In terms of managing a sports team with skill, intelligence, good judgment and with the interests of the local community in mind, Frank McCourt and Jerry Buss are at opposite ends of the bell curve. I'd give Joey Buss full control of not just the Lakers' roster and front office but the entirety of my major life decisions before I'd ask McCourt to take out my garbage. Really, he's been that bad.

So Magic and his friends at Guggenheim have a pretty low bar to clear, at least if their goal is to seem better than the last guy. I'm optimistic that Magic will fare well atop Big Blue. He's smart and he's surrounded by smart people. He knows the L.A. political and business environments as well as anyone. Most important, he's an Angeleno and will fight to make sure the franchise serves the city, instead of just treating it like the world's largest ATM. We trust Magic. He'll make mistakes, of course, but his career as a Laker and his status as a civic eminence are why his ascension to Dodgers ownership has most everyone in the city who cares about baseball toasting him yet again.

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