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By Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY
NBA coverage on ABC/ESPN has had plenty of on-air roster changes, particularly in its studio. Monday, the network announced another: Magic Johnson, who's been a part-time TNT studio analyst, will join ABC/ESPN's studio in the postseason — and make a regular-season cameo on a Christmas Day tripleheader.
ABC/ESPN also announced game analyst Jeff Van Gundy was signed to a multiyear extension.
For Johnson, the idea was to work deeper into the playoffs: "Nothing went wrong or was bad (at TNT). This is an opportunity. I wanted to work the NBA Finals" on ABC.
And Johnson, part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, says that doesn't pose a conflict: "If the Lakers are stinking up the building, I'll say it."
For Van Gundy, his extension caps a sharp rise up the TV ranks. He joined ABC/ESPN the day he was fired as coach of the Houston Rockets in 2007 and ended up working the Finals that year — and did it again last year with play-by-play announcer Mike Breen and analyst Mark Jackson. Part of Van Gundy's appeal, says ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson, is that he sees things from "an off-beat and humorous perspective."
For the first time in his 28 years as a full-time NFL analyst, NBC's John Madden will sit out a regular-season game — Seattle Seahawks-Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. His replacement: studio analyst Cris Collinsworth, who also calls NFL Network games.
The only thing that would be better than this would be if the Pacers could hire JVG as coach in a couple of seasons when he gets the itch to return to the sidelines.
Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
And life itself, rushing over me
Life itself, the wind in black elms,
Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you