They Call Me Magic review – a look at the highs and lows of a sport icon

April 18, 2022
Ricky Valero 0
Apple TV+, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
3

Summary

They Call Me Magic is an overstuffed docuseries about one of the most iconic figures in sports history.

 

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3

Summary

They Call Me Magic is an overstuffed docuseries about one of the most iconic figures in sports history.

 

Apple TV+ Docuseries They Call Me Magic will be released on the streaming service on April 22, 2022.

Over the life of his career Magic Johnson has grown into a global sports icon. From his time as Point Guard of the Lakers to his battle with HIV to post-basketball life, Magic has been quite an open book, but we are getting a deeper look into his life. Apple TV+ is dropping a four-part docuseries, They Call Me Magic.

One of the first eye-opening things you see about this docuseries is the massive amount of talent speaking throughout this docuseries. From basketball legends to celebrities to a former president of the United States, the creators got the cream of the crop.

We watched the transition from Earvin Johnson Jr. to Magic Johnson during the first episode. From being the first overall pick to the Lakers or battling Larry Bird in college, he became a phenom overnight. He was a larger-than-life person, which started to go to his head on and off the court. In his first season, Magic Johnson won the Lakers an NBA Championship. He became the highest-paid basketball player at the time, signing a 25 year, 25 million dollar contract. The team struggled mightily after this happened. Paul Westhead and Magic clashed after a few games and Jerry Buss fired Westhead instead of punishing Magic.

My most significant bone to pick with docuseries is that there are way too many episodes for no reason. I understand Magic’s story is a battle of many things, but ultimately, They Call Me Magic didn’t need to be a four-part series. We have huge chunks of this series that could’ve been cut down to smaller stories that felt unneeded. They had cliffhangers on episodes like this was an episodic adventure of a story we had never heard. There is no reason to drag this out for any reason. It could’ve easily been a two-part documentary or a two-hour doc.

When the story opens up about his HIV-positive testing, we get a more personal look at the story and how it unfolded for not just Magic but also those around him. At the time of the positive testing, doctors weren’t sure how to handle this or could even guarantee he would survive. Magic’s family was in disarray over what to do. His girlfriend at the time was pregnant. No one knew if it would affect his child or anyone around him had it. Each member of his family had to get tested. He thought his basketball career was over, but his life was in jeopardy.

Magic had so many hard decisions when it came to having HIV. Does he make the announcement? Does he stay quiet? How will it affect his everyday life and image? But, what I loved the most was that he didn’t hide it and become the face of the movement. So, you had one of the biggest sports stars in the world facing this uphill battle, and becoming the face helped so many people along the way. How they laid out this story was so well done by the directors. They delicately handled this personal story and showed how impactful it was at the time—true brilliance from everyone involved.

Overall the triumphant tale of Magic Johnson is what makes They Call Me Magic worth watching regardless of the unneeded length. The filmmakers smartly let every major star and celebrity talk about what the impact Magic had on and off the court. Fans of Magic or people who want to learn more about his story will be delighted through each episode.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Apple TV+. 

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