Magic Johnson’s upcoming docuseries for Apple TV+, “They Call Me Magic,” is already inviting comparisons to ESPN’s “The Last Dance.”
After all, both docuseries center on an NBA Legend: “The Last Dance” chronicled Michael Jordan’s career with the Chicago Bulls, framed around his last season with the team. But Magic says the comparisons stop there.
“It’s totally different,” Johnson said Friday during the docuseries’ Television Critics Association press tour session. “‘The Last Dance’ was about basketball and Michael’s mindset and attitude towards winning. This is about my family. This is about me being a businessman… it’s a life journey.”
The docuseries, which will premiere on April 22, explores Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s remarkable journey from being the face of the Los Angeles Lakers and cementing himself as an all-time NBA legend, to changing the conversation around HIV, and transforming into a successful entrepreneur and community activist.
Magic did make one comparison to “The Last Dance,” though — he thinks NBA great Scottie Pippen will like it a lot more than the Jordan-produced docuseries. “I think Scottie would like it more no question about it,” Johnson said.
Pippen did not like how he and his Bulls teammates were portrayed in “The Last Dance” and reserved his biggest ire for Jordan.
In his memoir “Unguarded,” Pippen accused “The Last Dance” of propping up Jordan at the expense of Pippen and other Bulls from the ’90s. “They glorified Michael Jordan while not giving nearly enough praise to me and my proud teammates. Michael deserved a large portion of the blame. The producers had granted him editorial control of the final product,” Pippen wrote. “Even in the second episode, which focused for a while on my difficult upbringing and unlikely path to the NBA, the narrative returned to MJ and his determination to win. I was nothing more than a prop. His ‘best teammate of all time,’ he called me. He couldn’t have been more condescending if he tried.”