Earvin "Magic" Johnson Talks About Magic/Bird, the Broadway Basketball Biography

By Kenneth Jones
07 Feb 2012

Kevin Daniels will play Magic Johnson in Magic/Bird.

I'm curious to know what your relationship to the theatre has been. Do you go to Broadway? Do you see shows?
EJ: Yeah, I see shows myself. My wife and I see shows — not just there in New York, but when they come here as well. I'm just blown away. I was just there to watch Sam Jackson and Angela Bassett [in The Mountaintop] when they kicked off their play. Matter of fact, I was there opening night. I'm always going there. I love it. There's nothing like New York. There's nothing like Broadway. There's nothing like a great play. I'm still blown away. I still can't believe that this is actually going to happen and that Larry and I actually have a play! This just blows me away because I've been there so many times and never thought that I — we — would be a part of any play.

What else have you seen on Broadway?
EJ: Ah, man!

Does your wife choose?
EJ: Yes. Hey, you know if you're married, you already know what's happening: You follow!

Usually in a couple, the lady chooses the play!
EJ: Exactly. You follow. A lot of times we'll go just because our friends are involved. Sam and LaTanya Jackson — they recommend a lot of plays. So, we go a lot of times to see our friends and then we go a lot of times to see the great plays. We love it.

Have you met Kevin Daniels, who is playing you in Magic/Bird?
EJ: Yes. Matter of fact, he's coming today in a minute, to talk to me one more time before he [goes to New York]. This is where he lives.

What's it like talking to "yourself"?
EJ: Weird. [Laughs.] I can't even begin to tell you how weird it is! Also, too, how a guy has to watch you — wants to see your mannerisms and on and on and on. It's weird. [Laughs.]

You feel like a specimen.
EJ: Exactly.

Have you shot hoops with him?
EJ: No, no, no. It's about business. It's about him really capturing my voice, watching me: how I stand, walk, talk— those things.

See you on opening night.
EJ: I'm coming and I can't wait. It's going to be great.

(Kenneth Jones is managing editor of Playbill.com. Follow him on Twitter @PlaybillKenneth.)