Bill Simmons Denies Pushing Magic Johnson Out of ESPN

Shortly after Magic Johnson made the surprise announcement that he was quitting his ESPN NBA analyst gig, a report came out alleging that Johnson left because of some kind of power struggle with Bill Simmons (who, naturally, denies any such thing). Per Variety: “Deadspin reported on Thursday that Johnson had become frustrated that ESPN’s Bill Simmons had taken control of the show over the past year. ‘It’s Simmons’s show now,’ one ESPN source told the site. Simmons, who also serves as the editor-in-chief of Grantland, joined ESPN’s TV coverage in 2012 and just so happens to be a Boston native and vocal opponent of Johnson’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers. ‘I feel like the biggest problem the show has had over the past couple of years is that everyone was hanging on Magic’s every word,’ Simmons said in an interview last year in Entertainment Weekly. ‘Nobody was challenging him.’ Johnson, an active businessman since retiring in 1991, is part of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group and also operates a production company, owns several movie theaters and restaurants.”

Related: Analyze This: Having ex-NBA players and coaches in the broadcast booth is more popular than ever