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Apple TV+ wins bidding war for Magic Johnson docuseries

Soon, basketball fans will get a never-before-seen look at Magic Johnson’s career with the Lakers.

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Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The highly-anticipated Magic Johnson documentary series is headed to Apple TV+, the streaming company announced on Thursday. Peacock was previously viewed as the front runner for the series with a bid of “about $25 million,” according to a report by Lucas Shaw of Bloomberg in August.

The four-part, untitled series, which is being produced by New Slate Adventures and XTR, will cover the Lakers legend’s life on and off the court through both his perspective, and also the views of the people closest to him, which include “heavyweights in business and politics,” per the streamer’s announcement.

The series is set to be directed by Rick Famuyiwa, who recently directed three episodes of the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian.” He’s also the director of classics like “Dope” (2015) and “The Wood” (1999).

It was previously announced that the docuseries would be released in 2021, but there wasn’t a release date in Apple TV+’s announcement. Given that there’s less than two months remaining in the year, a 2021 release appears unlikely.

Johnson’s name may have soured in the mouths of Lakers fans due to his disastrous run as his former team’s vice president of basketball operations, but a look back on his storied career in Los Angeles should bode well for his public perception in a similar way that “The Last Dance” did for Michael Jordan.

Johnson wasn’t just a great point guard, he’s arguably the greatest point guard to ever play in the NBA. In 13 years with the Lakers, Johnson made 12 All-Star appearances, won five championships and was named the league MVP three times. He was also part of the “Dream Team” that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

Johnson’s career was cut short due to an HIV diagnosis in 1991, but by then he had already cemented his status as an all-time great. It’s no wonder streaming services were lining up to get the rights to this series — his story couldn’t have been scripted better in Hollywood.

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