L.A. sports stars weigh in on Dodgers sale to Magic Johnson group
Los Angeles sports icons gave the thumbs-up Wednesday to the news a group including former Lakers star Magic Johnson will buy the Dodgers.
“Of course, Magic is real important to L.A. and the fans love him, so to get him to be a part of the Dodgers organization is a very good thing for us,” Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp told The Times on Wednesday morning at spring training. “I think this is a pretty good day for the Dodgers."
Johnson and a group of investors will be the new owners of the Dodgers after paying a record $2 billion. The former Laker is joined by longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten, movie executive Peter Guber and Mark Walter, chief executive officer of a Chicago financial services company.
His teammate, pitcher Clayton Kershaw expressed relief the ownership saga has ended.
"I didn't expect to hear for a couple days, so I was surprised to hear so soon," Kershaw said. "But I'm glad it's over. I’m glad we have an owner now."
"Magic’s got his hands everywhere, man,” Bryant told The Times. “But I’m happy for him. Obviously, everybody knows how well-loved he is in Los Angeles and he’s starting another chapter in his life and another chapter in his post-NBA career."
Meanwhile, Lakers Vice President Jeanie Buss took to Twitter to praise the sale.
“Congratulations Magic--sign me up for season tickets!” she wrote.
And other former Dodger greats weighed in on ESPN. Former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser called the move “Fantastic for the city of L.A.” and predicted Johnson would make a “great impact.”
But Steve Garvey, a former Dodgers MVP, said the team’s woes will not evaporate with the ownership change. Garvey was part of a group that made a bid on the team, and said he and his partners refused to bid higher than $1.4 billion.
“At $2 billion, I don’t know when you’ll ever get your return on investment,” he told ESPN, adding the team “is a shell of what it once was.”
“There are a lot of things they have to address.”
-- Matt Stevens
Photo: Matt Kemp, above, says it is good for the Dodgers that Magic Johnson is part of the group that will own the team. Credit: Rob Tringali / Getty Images