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Almost immediately after Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance ended its five week run, the conversation turned to what athlete we would all like to see profiled next. ESPN quickly partnered with future NFL Hall of Famer Tom Brady for a nine-party multi-platform doc that’s now scheduled for 2021, but it looks like that won’t be the only new athlete focused project moving forward. We’re also going to get one about Magic Johnson.
Details on the Magic Johnson one are still a little fuzzy. According to Forbes, it’s unclear what the length might be or where the project will air, but the documentary company XTR has announced a partnership with Magic Johnson and will reportedly be given “unprecedented access”, as well as the full cooperation of the Lakers great himself. All involved are shooting for completion and distribution sometime in 2021. Whether or not that’s feasible is going to depend entirely on the scope and how many people the production interviews.
One of the incredible things about The Last Dance was how many different people we were able to hear from. Obviously Michael Jordan dominated the conversation, but we also heard perspectives from most of his teammates, his coaches, his mother, his opponents, celebrities connected to the team and the owner of the Bulls. Apart from Luc Longley (who lives in Australia) and Jerry Krause (who passed away), I’m not even sure who else I would have wanted to hear from, though there were some I would have liked to hear more from. So, that’s going to be one of the key choices this documentary will need to make. Will it try to rival the scope of The Last Dance? If so, it’s going to need a lot of interviews and a lot of runtime. If not, then it could still be incredible, but it’s going to be a different kind of experience.
Of course, there is also plenty to talk about when it comes to Magic Johnson’s life. He started with incredible athletic runs in both high school and college. He went on to win five championships in the NBA, turned himself into a megastar in Los Angeles with broad cultural appeal, pushed the NBA (along with Larry Bird) to a new level of public interest, won a gold medal with the Dream Team, became one of the first major celebrities to be diagnosed with HIV, started several successful businesses including a movie theater chain and bought a portion of the LA Dodgers. There’s definitely enough here to do 10 episodes if they wanted to.
I’m a huge sports fan and am all for getting as many great documentaries as possible. That being said, one reason why I’m a bit more excited about this than the Tom Brady one is because enough time has passed where it’s likely everyone involved will be candid and open.
We’ll keep you updated as this documentary hopefully finds a home and starts taking shape.