A few months back, Magic Johnson expressed his disinterest in HBO’s Lakers limited series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. At the time he said he had a competing project coming out. Now, in a press release provided to The Root, AppleTV+ has offered a first look at the four-part documentary They Call Me Magic, which premieres April 22.
Featuring interviews with Magic, his wife Cookie Johnson, his son EJ Johnson, Larry Bird, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, former President Barack Obama, Dwayne Wade, Jerry West and Michael Wilbon, the trailer for They Call Me Magic begins with Magic’s time at Michigan State University, as well as the story of how he got his nickname. It then moves to the success of the Showtime Lakers in the ‘80s, before suddenly coming to a halt with Magic’s announcement that he was HIV positive and retiring from basketball. The story transitions to his time on the Dream Team, business ventures and relationship with his family.
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa (The Chi) with cinematography by Rachel Morrison (Black Panther), the doc had its premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX on Saturday, March 12.
When TMZ asked Magic about whether he would be watching the HBO limited series, the Laker legend said “I’m not looking forward to it. I’ll leave it at that.” Johnson said. “We got different shows coming out. I got one, then [Lakers owner and president] Jeanie Buss got one on Showtime coming out. Those are the ones I’m looking forward to.”
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty stars Quincy Isiah as Magic and chronicles the ups and downs of the team during its ‘80s Showtime era. Reviews have been mixed, so perhaps Magic was right all along, and a real story from those who were there will make for better TV.
All four episodes of They Call Me Magic premieres on AppleTV+ Friday, April 22.