I love Magic Johnson, not only because he's one of the greatest players in NBA history, but because he has a way with the English language. See, Magic doesn't just speak; he makes love to words. He once explained the passing rapport he shared with his Lakers teammates by saying "When we're out there, it's like we have ESPN." He also coined the terms fundamativity and harmonism, which make my life better on an almost every-day basis.

But some people don't share my generous appraisal of Magic's grammatical successivations. One such person is Star Tribune columnist CJ, whose current column is titled "Johnson isn't magical when he puts a reverse English spin on his grammar." In it she weaves the dark tale of how Magic recently gave an inspirational speech to a group of kids at the Mall of America -- he cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the mall's new Best Buy store -- and [prepare to be shocked!!] he committed a handful of verbal gaffes, such as saying "hisself" instead of "himself." I know. Pretty dark and sinister stuff.

Her biggest complaint came over this extended Magicism: "You can't be late to the dinner table [when you have six sisters and three brothers] or what will happen? All the food gone." Then: "Now here's a kid from the ghetto, grew up in the neighborhood and he don't [sic] drink coffee and he owns Starbucks."

Speaking as a longtime Magic fan, I can tell you for certain that this oration was actually really good for him. However, CJ's gripe is that successful businessmen like Magic should be able to speak better, and that Magic's oral diarrhea is setting a bad example for the kiddies...since nobody can succeed if they talk like an idiot.

Really, CJ? I wouldn't be too sure about that...

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Blogger KNEE JERK NBA said...
Sounds like CJ done got a big stick stuck up in 'er cooter.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well, people who work with lots of inner city kids work like crazy to get them to speak grammatically sound English, since it has a dramatic effect on their job prospects. So maybe it's not surprising that somebody would come down on Magic as a "role model."

Now me, I like the Charles Barkley school of role models:

That said, Magic has aggressively sought out the role model mantle. It's a big part of his public persona, and he probably makes some good money from it. Is it unreasonable to expect him to assume some of the responsibilities of a role model as well? He chose to go that road, after all.

Oh, another great Barkley clip. I'd forgotten this one, but you may want to do a column on this, Matt. I particularly like the Vegas comment by Kenny Smith. What, was he prescient?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
What's up Matt?

What are your thoughts after Team USA's outings against China and Angola?

I'm concerned about our outside shooting. We're 15-of-63 from 3-point distance over our last three games.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Magic is a career criminal when it comes to committing grammatical misdemeanors: My 2nd-strongest memory of him, after the baby hook in the '87 Finals, was his retirement press conference when he talked about the AIDS virus that he "attained", like it was another MVP or something.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Actually, upon reading the article about Magic, I couldn't agree more. I thought it was spot on. Especially this part:

"While imploring the kids to "Make sure that you make the right decisions" and underscoring that remark with "You know what's right from wrong," the NBA legend never took ownership of his monumental mistake of contracting HIV. With this disease rampant in the black community, it seems only appropriate that Johnson's act include one measly mention of his poor decision-making.

On a much lighter note, there was the matter of Johnson's English. "

Those are exactly the kinds of social observation we should expect commentators to make. I'm feeling no sympathy for Magic on this one.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@Wormboy- LMFAO!!!

Wow- that was awesome. I can't believe I missed that one!


Anonymous Anonymous said...
This is the same writer who wrote the unbelievably inane column about KG "making a pass" at Michelle Tafoya after winning the championship (see below). Apparently, she makes her living by being an indignant blowhard on topics nobody gives a moment's thought to.