MAGIC JOHNSON'S HOOK: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the sky hook, but...

MAGIC JOHNSON'S HOOK: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the sky hook, but it was teammate Magic Johnson's baby hook with 2 seconds left that gave the Lakers a 3-1 lead in the 1987 finals over the rival Boston Celtics. With the Lakers trailing by one, Johnson drove to his right into the paint, lofting a hook shot over Kevin McHale as Robert Parish and Larry Bird tried to help contest for a 107-106 lead. The Lakers couldn't relax until Bird missed at the buzzer, and they would eventually close out their longtime rivals at home in Game 6. Credit: AP

Someday I will retire, as will my successor. But rest assured: Newsday is committed to hiring qualified sports media writers to document the tinkering on “NBA Countdown’’ as long as it takes ESPN to match TNT’s NBA studio success.

The latest shuffle involves Michael Wilbon and Magic Johnson leaving and Doug Collins and Doris Burke (on a limited basis) arriving.

Johnson’s surprising announcement prompted a report on that Johnson left in a huff over the departure of Wilbon and the alleged influence of Bill Simmons.

Lon Rosen, Johnson’s agent, refuted that in an interview with USA Today, saying Magic “likes Bill a lot.’’

So it goes. Somewhere Sir Charles is laughing.

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