Magic Johnson's Tampering Fine For Giannis Comments Is Absurd

Ryan Phillips

Magic Johnson was fined $50,000 by the NBA for tampering on Tuesday. His crime? Praising Giannis Antetokounmpo and saying he would likely win a championship with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Here’s what Johnson said after ESPN asked him a question comparing his game to Antetokounmpo’s:

"“Oh yeah. With his ball-handling skills and his passing ability. He plays above the rim I never could do that. But in his understanding of the game, his basketball IQ, his creativity of shots for his teammates. That’s where we [have the] same thing. Can bring it down, make a pass, make a play. I’m just happy he’s starting in the All-Star game because he deserves that. And he’s going to be like an MVP, a champion, this dude he’s going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he’s going to bring them a championship one day.”"

Really? That’s it? That’s all he did? Said a player was good and would likely win a title for another franchise? How is that tampering?

The fact that Johnson was fined for that is absolutely absurd.

Look, I know Magic is an executive for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he’s also one of the NBA’s go-to on-camera interviews. The NBA loves having him give interviews and be one of the game’s “faces” and you can’t have it both ways. You can’t encourage a guy and put him on camera all the time, then get pissed when he even mention’s a player’s name.

I get it, executives aren’t supposed to make public comments about players, but maybe that rule should be amended a bit? All he did was praise a player. He didn’t contact an agent, didn’t say that player should come to LA and certainly didn’t discuss pursuing him.

How is it against the rules to complement a guy?!? This is simply ridiculous.