Retired NBA great and Los Angeles Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson will have his story told in a new four-part docuseries on Apple TV+, according to the latest report from Deadline. The currently untitled project was started last year and will be helmed by New Slate Ventures and XTR. The announcement came a few days before the 30th anniversary of Johnson’s memorable statement on November 7, 1991, that he had become infected with the HIV virus and was summarily retiring from the game of basketball.
“This is the tale of two men — Magic, the five-time champion, the all-star athlete, the NBA legend, and Earvin the man, the entrepreneur, the philanthropist — who happen to be one in the same,” XTR described the enterprise. “Told from Magic’s perspective, this bio-documentary will span his career, rewinding to the very beginning and taking us to present day.
Various outlets competed for the rights to the docuseries, which will be executive produced by Johnson himself, Christina McLarty Arquette, John Terzian, and others. Rick Famuyiwa, praised for his directorial work on the 2015 coming-of-age flick Dope, will get behind the camera again for this project.
The series will incorporate interviews with Johnson, a number of his business and political associates, and his friends, as well as previously unseen recordings that will give viewers a more up-close look at the $600 million man.
Before LeBron James came along, Earvin “Magic” Johnson was the first of his kind in the NBA. Whereas Johnson’s archrival Larry Bird was known for being a surly, cold-blooded sharpshooter with a high basketball IQ and played for the very blue-collar Boston Celtics, Johnson was known for his beaming grin and eagerness to ham it for the camera.
But Johnson’s peers also always said he was the perfect foil for Bird because Johnson was just as much the killer on the court as “The Hick from French Lick. James Worthy, one of the NBA’s Top 75 players ever and one of Johnson’s Lakers teammates, summed it all up with the following quote about the 1979 NBA Finals MVP (Johnson’s rookie year) in the book The 100 Greatest American Athletes: “I don’t think there will ever be another 6′ 9″ point guard who smiles while he humiliates you.”