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Magic Johnson leaves ESPN

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 04: Magic Johnson looks

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 04: Magic Johnson looks on early in Game Two of the National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on October 4, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) (Credit: Getty Scott Cunningham)

Everyone in the sports media world had been anticipating a shakeup in ESPN's "NBA Countdown" studio, a transition that began with Doug Collins replacing Mike Wilbon.

On Thursday SI.com reported that Doris Burke will join the show.  Then came this unexpected development: Magic Johnson has decided to leave the network after five years.

Here is what he said in a statement:

"I love ESPN.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of my schedule and other commitments, I don't feel confident that I can continue to devote the time needed to thrive in my role. I will always feel a strong connection to the ESPN family and I enjoyed working with them very much.

"I'd like to thank John Skipper, John Wildhack, Mark Gross, Kim Belton, Amina Hussein, Mark Summer, Adam Hertzog, Bob Rauscher, Stuart Scott, Mike Wilbon, Jon Barry, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons, Chris Broussard and the many others at ESPN for the wonderful opportunity to talk about the game I love. They are the best in the business.:

Said John Wildhack, ESPN's executive VP for production:

"Earvin "Magic" Johnson informed us today that he'll no longer be part of our NBA coverage due to his other commitments. We appreciate Magic's contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors. We are in the process of determining our NBA commentator roles for the upcoming season."

Tags: ESPN

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