OXNARD, Calif – Earvin "Magic" Johnson is like many folks who live in Los Angeles, an avid NFL fan whose favorite team plays far away.
Johnson, the Lakers' Hall of Fame point guard, thinks Los Angeles will finally get an NFL team very soon, though.
Johnson was at a joint practice between the Cowboys and Raiders, his two favorite teams. On the subject of a team moving to Los Angeles, which has been without a team since 1994, Johnson sounded very confident.
"I think for the first time, I truly believe we're going to get a team. Finally," Johnson said. "Everybody is on board. The city is on board. The business community is on board. The NFL is on board. Finally we have momentum. In the next couple years, at least in the next 24 months, I think one team will be coming. I don't know what team that will be, but I believe in the next two years we'll have a team."
Maybe that's just optimism, but Johnson isn't the normal former basketball player opining on the state of an NFL team coming to Los Angeles. He's a huge part of the Los Angeles business community, and was part of the ownership group that bought MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers. When he talks about the business community and city being on board, he's probably not guessing.
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Johnson said his relationship with the Davis family, which has owned the Raiders for decades, goes back a long time to when the team was in Los Angeles in between its stints in Oakland. Johnson talked to Raiders owner Mark Davis during his trip to the training camp practice here, but he said the subject of moving to Los Angeles never came up. Davis has been vocal about wanting a new stadium. The team's lease with its stadium in Oakland is up after this season. Davis has talked to San Antonio officials about relocating there. If San Antonio, a relatively small market, appeals to Davis, why wouldn't a return to Los Angeles?
That's what Johnson, who said he is a longtime Raiders season-ticket holder, is hoping.
"It would be great to have the Raiders back in L.A.," Johnson said. "I would love for that to happen. But that's going to be up to Mark and the Raiders and the NFL. But I would love to have the Raiders back in L.A., where they belong. We just want a team. We want a team in the worst way."
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