Apple TV+ has acquired a four-part docuseries on the life of basketball icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson. “Dope” writer/director Rick Famuyima will direct.
Johnson’s had one hell of a life — even beyond the basketball court. But the Lansing, Michigan native’s college (Michigan State University) and professional (Los Angeles Lakers) career is the stuff of legend. Magic won five rings with the Lakers. Along the way, he forged an intense rivalry — and ultimately, a very touching friendship — with Larry Bird.
Magic passed the NBA torch to Michael Jordan when both were members of the 1992 “Dream Team,” the USA Basketball team that completely dominated the Olympics. You’ve probably heard of him too.
After retiring from the NBA, Johnson became a late-night talk show host and a businessman. One of those ventures was much more successful than the other. Johnson owned a movie-theater chain and a studio, and is now part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The docuseries, which hails from New Slate Ventures and XTR Production, features never-before-seen footage and interviews with Magic, powerhouses from business and politics, and those in his inner circle, according to the description provided by Apple.
Dirk Westervelt (“Ford v. Ferrari”) will edit together all the footage, Rachel Morrison (“Black Panther”) handles cinematography. The untitled docuseries is produced for Apple by XTR and New Slate Ventures, and produced in association with H.Wood Media and Delirio Films.
The 30th anniversary of the announcement of Johnson’s HIV diagnosis is this Sunday, Nov. 7, which explains the timing of this announcement.
Johnson has been an activist for those with the virus since announcing his infection in 1991. Though he retired immediately upon receiving the news of his diagnosis from a routine team physical, Johnson played in the ’92 NBA All-Star Game and in Barcelona. Did we say “played?” He was the game’s MVP.
He then attempted a full-time comeback, though scrapped those plans after other players expressed concerns about contracting HIV through open cuts. Johnson did return to the court for a bit in the mid 1990s.