Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon to be part of NBA Countdown show

Magic Johnson watches NBA games every day, amazed by the wayRussell Westbrookis compiling triple-doubles even faster than he could.

Now Johnson is ready to start talking about it on the air again.

The Hall of Famer is returning to ESPN as analyst to work on the network's NBA Countdown studio show, ESPN announced Monday.

Johnson will debut on the pregame studio show for ABC's Christmas coverage and then join Michael Wilbon, who is also making his return to the show, and Sage Steele on the Saturday night team, beginning Jan. 21.

"I'm so excited to be working with my ESPN family again on NBA Countdown Saturday nights," Johnson said in a statement released by ESPN. "Michael, Sage and I are going to have a lot of fun this season while we cover the greatest sport in the world. Basketball has been so good to me, and I can't wait to once again share my love and passion for the game with the fans and my ESPN colleagues."

Johnson worked for ESPN as a studio analyst from 2008-13 and said getting to work again with Wilbon was one of the reasons for his return, along with the chance to work the limited nine-game Saturday schedule. He was previously doing 60 or more nights, which was too much with his other businesses, he said.

"If it had been a full schedule like I did before, 60-something games, it never would have worked out," Johnson said. "I wouldn't have come back."

This is the second season of "NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC," which had one of the most memorable regular-season games of last season, when theGolden State Warriors stormed back to beat the Oklahoma City Thunderafter MVPStephen Curryhit a long 3-pointer in overtime.

Now Johnson thinks the Thunder's Westbrook is on track to unseat Curry. The reigning Western Conference player of the week entered play on Monday with five straight triple-doubles -- the most sinceMichael Jordanhad seven in a row in 1989 -- and Westbrook was averaging 31.0 points, 11.3 assists and 10.8 rebounds for the season.

"You think about it, and not just getting triple-doubles, but he gets high triple-doubles with his scoring, rebounds and assists," said Johnson, who is second in NBA history with 138 triple-doubles.

"So what he's doing and the rate he's doing it at, as well, it's just truly amazing; and if anybody could average a triple-double for a season, I think he could definitely pull it off. So it's got the whole league and all basketball fans around the country paying notice to him."

The NBA Countdown pregame show will run for 30 minutes beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The Saturday night schedule begins with theSan Antonio Spurs visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers, then has the LA Clippersvisiting the Warriors on Jan. 28, putting the West's top three teams in action in the first two weeks.

"It's an exciting season and I wanted to be a part of it," Johnson said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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