January 18th, 2008
06:26 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton puts Magic Johnson front and center

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/18/art.magic.gi.jpg caption=" Bill Clinton and Magic Johnson have hit the campaign trail together."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson suggests Barack Obama is a "rookie" in a new Hillary Clinton campaign ad launched in South Carolina Friday, one week before the southern state holds its Democratic primary.

"We won our first game on a last-second shot," the former Los Angeles Lakers point guard says in the ad. "I was so hyped. But the captain of my team said, 'Take it easy rookie, it's a long season, it's a long road to the championship.' He was right."

(According to NBA.com, that sage veteran mentioned in the ad who offers advice to a young Johnson is none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who happens to be publicly supporting Obama.)

"Whether it's winning championships or a president who can lead us back to greatness, I'll always want the most prepared and experienced person leading my team," Johnson also says. "That's why I'm asking you to join me in voting for Hillary Clinton for President.

The basketball great fails to point out the Lakers won the NBA championship his rookie season and he was named Finals MVP.

Johnson endorsed Clinton earlier in the year and campaigned at her side in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses. He has also been campaigning with Bill Clinton in Nevada this week, and taking subtle digs at the Illinois senator.

"We need somebody who's not preaching hope," he said at one stop on Thursday. "We need somebody who understands that there's a problem, and they're preaching solutions."

- CNN's Peter Hamby and Alex Mooney

soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. Emily, Atlanta, GA

    Robert Bell,
    Where did you get "entirely" from? Apparently you can read voters' minds? Please do not use baseless assumptions and bias to judge someone's work and character. If you read up on Hillary's history you will see that she was considered one of the most influential lawyers of the time.
    Attitude like yours are precisely why Obama's supporters are called a "haters' cult."

    January 18, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  2. Ruth Mctizic

    Magic...You are a sensitive, caring man who have shared your misfortune with the world...and for this I thank you. I also appreciate Mr.Clinton's focus on Africa
    and his work on HIV/AIDs and other diseases that devastate the African countries.
    I recognize this as the link that binds you, but Hillary is not Bill...Don't get it twisted.
    You can recognize devine intervention can't you....... your own life is evident of that fact, and so is this time in history for Barack Obama. It's time for the Rookie to lead the free world. If you can't help...Don't hinder

    January 18, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  3. Bruce Taylor,Berkeley/Sacramento

    New poll today by CNN:
    Clinton has fallen 26% in the African-American vote...so this type of zirconium endorsement is losing its lustre.
    Obama 59%
    Clinton 31%

    January 18, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  4. Cat

    Magic has a right to support whom ever he pleases. All of us do. So why tear him down for stating who he prefers. This is America and everyone has a right to vote for whom ever they please.

    I am ashamed for my children to see how adults act and talk about each other.

    We should be role models for them and maybe the world would be a little more friendly to every human being, regardless of class, gender, race or religion.

    As I have stated in previous emails, the people who vote will determine who the next president will be.

    I believe in one man, one vote. I hope Nevada will not be having some of their citizens vote as many as 5 times.

    From an American and right now not so proud of it.

    January 18, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  5. Geri Sacramento

    To Poor: Did Magic Johnson tell you that or are you a mind reader?

    January 18, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  6. sam madino

    Clinton News Network or what was once CNN is at it again. Supporting Clintons, having her biographer there in the political room. How about talking about the fund raising fraud case that is on the table at CA courts against Hillary.
    Do you hear CNN bring this up. Of course not. It's Clintons News Network. I bet they wont even show this comment.

    January 18, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  7. Marie in Arlington Tx

    I am a white Republican who is 99.9% sure Obama will have my vote in 08. There hasn't been so much excitement about an election since another talented young orator captured the American spirit.

    As I listened to Obama this evening I wondered why in the world would anyone want to go up against the Clintons? Why would anyone put themselves in front of that freight train? It really is such an ugly position to be in....maybe because it is the right thing to do. And maybe we as voters need to recognize it is the right thing for our country.

    America we have a chance to have a president who will unite us and listen to us. Oh by the way, did I mention he just happens to be black. I hope the black voters won't just go along with what Bill and Hillary Clinton think they should do. This race thing just won't die and here they go again. That's nice that Magic Johnson supports a candidate and speaks out for one. It strikes me as strange that his endorsement makes such headlines.

    Obama in '08!!!!!!!!!!

    January 18, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  8. A new world is waiting for us

    Despite some of the comments here, I think this election cycle is really great. I think our country is really evolving for the better; and looked at from a distance, I like what I see.

    January 18, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  9. Leilani, Seattle,WA

    I totally agree with H.Dannon of Lancaster, SC. As a new immigrant of Polynesian ancestry, electing Obama would not only change the statusquo for African Americans but for other minorities as well.

    You go Obama....Mahalo, Kia Ora

    January 18, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  10. Gen

    Obama was a member of the Illinois State Senate since 1997!! He's been around for a while but you don't see him bragging about his experience. I want people to tell me what has HIllary done that has made a difference in your life?
    Has she ever REALLY done anything for you? Because I know she hasn't done anything to make my life easier. People don't understand that ALL she cares about is POWER not the PEOPLE!!

    When she talks all I see in her eyes is a thirst for power and the desire to be in control. She's completely fake. That was the only reason she forgave Bill for cheating on her, because she knew he was the key to her power. Do your research and realize that when Bill had to make any IMPORTANT decisions HIllary wasn't speaking to him because she was upset at him for some scandal.
    Realize that this is all about her, not about the American people! Wake up people! I used to support her, but then I realized what she really was! Corrupt!

    Obama for a better tomorow!! OBAMA 2008!!

    January 18, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  11. Rachel

    H. Dannon:

    I am a white attorney with a civil rights background, having worked in northern Florida for many years representing black defendants who have suffered discrimination in the criminal justice system.

    I support Hillary because I think she will make the best president. My decision has nothing to do with race or gender. I just think she's better qualified.

    It's everyone's responsibility to reject the race card and refuse to play it. And that includes well-intentioned white attorneys.

    January 18, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  12. Mark, Seattle

    To relevance:What does Oprah have to do with anything?

    January 18, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |


    January 18, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  14. Gaining Hope, Newport News, Va.

    Great! Two men who know what it's all about? Please... Can we get serious now?

    January 18, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  15. melissa

    so because magic is a former basketball player he's not allowed to know politics.. right?

    half of these comments only criticize magic for taking a political stance alongside hillary because apparently he'll never know what he's talking about because he's a former basketball great.. get over it.. if any of you knew anything about magic he's always been a good friend of both clintons and has supported them 100% throughout their careers as they have always supported him in his fight to bring awareness to AIDS.. yes it happens to be true. some basketball players do have brains and do have opinions.

    "Why is a retired professional basketball player with an apparent fondness for donuts relevant to the political process."

    what does that have anything to do with anything?

    if that's the question you want to ask then you should be asking it about every celebrity who endorses any of the candidates..

    January 18, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  16. Barry

    Wake up America, Bush, Bush. Clinton, Clinton. We deserve much more than that. Vote for the kid; he is smart and has no baggage yet. Catch him while he is clean.

    January 18, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  17. Don

    I fail to see the reasoning behind the criticism of Anyone's vote for the war. Remember back. The vast majority of the World was on our side. The great majority of Americans were for the war, we were displaying a paper flag in our car window. I fell for it. Didn't you? What part of the facts are unclear? I think the majority of voters have fallen for the "You repeat a lie loud enough and often enough, many people will believe and repeat it willingly." Not sure on the quote. It fits their personal agenda. Just one American's opinion. I sure hope we are ALL informed this time.
    Thanks, Don

    January 18, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  18. Venus

    The Clintons' continue to amaze me at the level of disregard they show in pandering to Blacks in such an obvious manner. As each day passes I lose more respect for them. They'll destroy the base of the party just to be back in power. BET founder, home of gangsters and sexism (they are just "keepin' it real") and now Magic. Magic whose opinion on how to run the country has always been.... wait didn't he play some game with a ball?

    Pathetic Billary. Just pathetic. Although it's nice to finally see your true colors.

    January 18, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  19. Ron

    Oprah vs. Magic




    Watching Bill and Hillary is kind of like watching Britney Spears...I think they may need some serious help...

    MAGIC JOHNSON!!!! He is like the most illiterate person in the world!!!!!!

    It's like they're trying to give the race to Obama...fine with me 😉

    (I'm African-American by the way)

    January 18, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  20. John H.

    The Clintons are phonies. Untrustworthy, liars, and two-faced.

    January 18, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |


    January 18, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  22. defotso

    Barack is the only alternative.you have our support all over the world.

    January 19, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  23. Ann

    Clinton needs some magic himself to clean up his act. Is he senile, he's been exhibiting some off the wall behavior and he looks bad.

    January 19, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  24. Mati

    I cannot understand how stupid can some be to fall for that Obama guy. I found disgusting his act mocking Hillary and Edwards. Like a coward, he wasn't able to reply in the debate.. He cannot use his mind! he needed a script to start the barking.

    I admire the Clintons. I like how they fight again the stupidity of people, the bias of media and the political adversity. I strongly believe Hillary should be the President.

    January 19, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  25. Rich In Seattle

    This is great 'cause I only care about who ex-basketball players pick to lead this country. I really can't wait to hear who Dennis Rodman picks. I make all my decisions based on unqualified sports figures recomendations. I wonder what Mike Tyson thinks we should do about the growing threat of Russia and how they are moving away from a Democratic system.

    I care as much as Magic Johnson as I do about George Clooney and Angelina Jolie, which is nothing!

    January 19, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
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