Magic Johnson a Slam Dunk With L.A. Dodgers

Major League Baseball would be wise to approve the ownership group featuring the NBA great.

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Major League Baseball loses to pro football on so many fronts -- TV ratings, broadcast revenue, merchandise sales, etc. -- that it can't afford to miss any chance to one-up the NFL.  

Especially not the 6-foot-9 opportunity knocking at the door.

Former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson, who after retirement transformed himself from an All-Star point guard to an all-star businessman, makes no secret of his interest in sports ownership. And he means a major portion, not the 4.5 percent stake of the Lakers he sold last year.

Those proceeds, plus the gain from selling his 105 Starbucks franchises a day later, gave him reportedly more than $100 million to play with in his pursuit of a sports franchise. When he was the first speaker at a February news conference on the naming rights for a proposed football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, he made his NFL intentions clear.

But Johnson isn't one to limit his options, and he has plenty. So with the Los Angeles Dodgers going through bankruptcy court, he met with six different groups of potential bidders before teaming up with Stan Kasten, a former NBA/MLB team president, and Mark Walter, CEO of a financial-services firm that has more than $125 billion in assets under management.

Johnson's involvement should automatically make his group MLB's No. 1 choice to purchase the Dodgers.

"I want to win," Johnson told espn.com. "We want to win. Not only do we have the guy who can write the check to buy the team, but we have to have somebody who can acquire quality people and talent, and Stan knows how to do that better than anybody ... We've got a great plan."

Johnson's stature as L.A.'s most popular athlete ever, plus his combination of charm, business acumen and political skill, would do wonders for baseball. And MLB needs every boost it can get, particularly among African Americans who have drifted away from the game.

It's doubtful that Johnson would give up his pursuit of an NFL franchise for Los Angeles. But the NFL allows cross-ownership of pro-sports franchises when the teams are located in the same city, so the league would be OK with Johnson's stake in the Dodgers.

MLB shouldn't mind sharing him if necessary.

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