Keyshawn Johnson and Mychal Thompson Passionately Accused Dan Le Batard of Racism for His Magic Johnson Criticism

By Jason Lisk

Keyshawn Johnson got extremely heated about comments Dan Le Batard made on the Magic Johnson hire, on this morning’s radio show on ESPNLA with Jorge Sedano and LZ Granderson.

Here is a transcript of Le Batard’s comments, which were played on-air during this morning’s segment:

"What you’ve got here though, is a testament to the power of fame. And a testament to the power of a modicum of charm. Because Magic Johnson is charming. But, Magic Johnson was given a late night television show, because he’s famous and charming. Failed in 11 shows. Magic Johnson was given a head coaching job of the Lakers, because he’s famous and charming, failed in 16 games. Magic Johnson, not interesting as a broadcaster, given broadcasting opportunity after broadcasting opportunity, because he’s famous and charming. And now, he gets to run the entire Lakers organization because he’s famous and charming. That’s amazing."

Those comments immediately got Keyshawn Johnson going, talking about fellow ESPN employee Le Batard, when he began, “I can’t tolerate this dude. Like, I can’t tolerate him saying these things about Magic Johnson, because his facts are completely wrong.” Johnson went on to break down his factual disagreements with the comments, regarding how the talk show and the temporary coaching position went, and then added, “shut up, Le Batard, be quiet.”

“He failed on NBA Countdown? They moved Countdown to L.A. for him, and they got him back again, and they want him back again,” Johnson added. “What are you talking about? You sound stupid!

Sedano and Grandson then joined back in the conversation, offering their views. Granderson took issue with Le Batard’s concerns, saying of Magic, “this is an intelligent, talented expert in his field.”

Johnson then returned, and brought up race, in a rapid-fire exchange between him and Sedano:

"Johnson: “I’m going to read between the lines, I’m going to read between the lines on this one … To me, he saying because he’s a black dude, that’s the way I look at it …” Sedano: “No, I know Dan, that’s not true.” Johnson: “I don’t know him, but that’s the way I look at it.” Sedano: “If you are insinuating that Dan is like being prejudiced here …” Johnson: “That’s what I’m insinuating …” Sedano: “Then I would tell you [that] you are 100% wrong.” Keyshawn: “Well, maybe I am, maybe I am.”"

After a slight break, the topic came back up, with Sedano saying that he had heard Le Batard criticize other (white) former players as well when Johnson questioned why this was only said about Magic. Sedano asked him to trust him on what LeBatard’s positions have been, and Johnson said he wouldn’t and needed to hear it himself.

Then, former Laker Mychal Thompson called into the show.

"“Sedano, I’m on my way to the airport, flying out with Magic. … But anyway, Sedano, you’re pissing me off. You gotta stop defending this Le Batard, because I heard the same thing as Key and LZ, and it’s pissed me off as a black man. Let me give you some name, Sedano: guys named Elway, Kerr,  Ainge, Bird, McHale.”"

After Sedano had said that LeBatard was critical of those guys getting jobs, Thompson added:

"How dare he question Magic’s credentials and qualifications, when this man is a basketball genius. What does he want, he calls him popular and charming, what does he want, to step and fetch it, does that what he thinks he is, shuffling around and not being successful at everything he accomplishes in life. That ticked me off when I heard that, I’m with you Key, that was some kind of veiled racist comment there."

It was quite the exchange of different perspectives and made for some explosive radio.