Johnson Wants to Work Magic With LA Dodgers

Lakers stars Magic Johnson says he want to get into the baseball business

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Friday, Feb 10, 2012  |  Updated 12:39 PM CDT
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Laker great Magic Johnson is part of a new ownership group that wants to buy the Dodgers.

Patrick Healy

Laker great Magic Johnson is part of a new ownership group that wants to buy the Dodgers.

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One of the world's most beloved sports stars said in an interview Friday that he is interested in one of  baseball's most prized franchises -- the LA Dodgers.

Your Thoughts: Who Should Buy the Dodgers? | The Changeup: The McCourt Saga

Magic Johnson announced plans for a bid Friday. 

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to be part of the Dodgers legacy and bring a World Series championship back to LA," Johnson tweeted Friday.

The ownership group -- Guggenheim Baseball Management -- would include two necessary elements: someone who knows baseball and someone familiar with big money operations. Former president of Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals Stan Kasten and, Mark Walter, the chief executive of a financial services firm, would be part of the group, Johnson said in the interview.

Walter is CEO of Guggenheim Partners, which handles about $125 billion in assets, according to the company.

"I love baseball," Johnson told LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke. "I've been a Dodgers fan and gone to the park many, many times."

Other people who have been linked to a Dodgers bid include former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, developers Rick Caruso and Alan Casen, former NHL team owner Tom Golisano and Dennis Gilbert, a former agent.

Former players Steve Garvey and Orel Hersheiser are attempting to form an ownership group.

The idea of a public bid has also been pitched. Stanley Stalford, a local developer and chairman of the group "Own the Dodgers," said he wants to sell shares in the team to local residents so they can band together to buy it.

Last month, former Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said he has been  approached by several would-be buyers, but added that he has not entered into any agreements with an ownership group.

Financial details of the team might be released next week to potential buyers, marking a step forward in the highly anticipated sales process.

Speculation regarding who would be the team's next owner heightened last month when Frank McCourt agreed to sell the team after a lengthy battle with Major League Baseball in bankruptcy court. One of baseball's most storied teams filed for bankruptcy in June.

MLB accused McCourt of financial mismanagement, but McCourt said the league derailed his financial recovery plan, which involved a TV contract deal that he said would lead the team out of bankruptcy.

It's not the first time Johnson, 52, has announced plans to get involved with an LA sports franchise. In December 2010, he teamed with Tim Leiweke, of AEG, to "bring the NFL back to Los Angeles."

In July, he turned up at the first City Council meeting to consider a proposed downtown NFL stadium.

His popularity in LA and legacy with the Lakers -- the team won five NBA titles with Johnson -- brings something else to the ownership group: Fans like him. 

"I think Magic Johnson would be a perfect match for the Dodgers," Adriene Brookes said on the NBCLA.com Facebook page. "The city and his business ventures. However the current Dodger ownership has decimated the team. I think that having Magic as the owner would bring the fans back because we can trust his leadership."

Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: Twitter: @NBCLA // Facebook: NBCLA

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