TV Article

Hoop Dreams

Magic Johnson plans reality series. He'll host a competition of street basketball players on MTV

Magic Johnson may have failed as a talk-show host, but he's rebounding into TV by doing what he knows best: basketball. Five years after his short-lived late-night show, the NBA legend is coming to MTV as producer and occasional on-air personality for a reality series called ''Who's Got Game.'' The 10-episode series will pit street hoopsters against each other for a $100,000 prize.

''I grew up playing street basketball,'' Johnson told the Associated Press. He says he'll spend the next two months scouting for 12 contestants in such cities as Washington, New York, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles. The series, which will air this summer, will also focus on the players' lives and interaction with each other off the court. Players will be eliminated over the course of the series, with the finale featuring two players in a one-on-one game. The winner will get the cash jackpot and have his neighborhood court refurbished and renamed in his honor. (Unlike, say, ''American Idol,'' there's no promise to the winner of a pro contract.)

Johnson said his own on-air presence would be minimal. ''It's not about me. It's about the street ballplayers,'' he told AP. ''This is their shot for everybody around the world to finally get to know them.''

Originally posted Jan 30, 2003