One passer gave a big assist to another.
Magic Johnson, roughly 45 miles from where his classic battles with Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics took place in the halcyon days of the NBA, said another New England sports icon should not be excluded from playing in the NFL: Tom Brady.
Johnson, appearing at the Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Softball Classic, opined, “I’m a Tom Brady fan. I don’t want to see Tom Brady miss one game. If not, I’m not watching. I want to see Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.”
He pointed out that any professional team worth its salt should want to beat another team at its best, recalling that the Lakers of his day would circle their upcoming games against the Celtics, wanting to beat their rivals when they had all guns firing.
We’re all competitors. We don’t want to see New England without Tom Brady. If you’re a great football team and a great football player, you want to have them at their best. It’s like me saying, `Larry Bird, please (NBA) disqualify him and make him sit down!’ No. I didn’t want that. I wanted Larry Bird, I wanted (Kevin) McHale, I wanted (Robert) Parish, I wanted DJ (Dennis Johnson), I wanted (Scott) Wedman off the bench, I want (Cedric) Maxwell, I want M.L. Carr waving that damn towel around. I wanted everybody. That’s what it’s about. I want to beat you with your best.
Johnson had tweeted back in May that he watched the Patriots because of Brady’s presence:
I’m going to miss Tom Brady’s championship pedigree for those 4 games, he’s the reason I watch the Patriots every Sunday!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 11, 2015
Johnson acknowledged his friendship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, adding, “First of all, Tom Brady is a champion. He is the face of the league and will continue to be the face of the league.”
He dismissed Deflategate, saying, “One thing that people have to realize is that players have to play. I don’t care about videos, balls, they don’t decide the game. It’s players who decide the games. I don’t care what anybody says. They went out there and won the game, point blank. They won the Super Bowl.”
Johnson pointed out that the Lakers never used the disadvantages of playing in the Boston Garden as an excuse. Laker Mitch Kupchak once listed them: “The bolts on the parquet that didn’t go all the way down, the dead spots on the floor, the showers that mysteriously didn’t work, all the little things you didn’t notice when you were beating them.” Former Lakers coach Pat Riley added, “That place was always a nightmare …. In 1984 it was so hot we could barely breathe in our locker room, while they had these big machines that blew cool air. It got to the point that we brought our own beverages to the Garden because we couldn’t trust their water, and we covered all the cameras during practices because we didn’t know who was watching.”
Johnson concluded, “I’m a big NFL fan. I hope the commissioner works this out. Give the (Patriots) a fine, and let’s move on. The fans are tired of it. We want football in a couple weeks, and I want Tom Brady to be in there.”