It’s a busy time of late for projects focused on Earvin “Magic” Johnson. HBO is, after all, currently gearing up to feature the Lakers superstar in Adam McKay’s Winning Time (where he’ll be played by Quincy Isaiah), and now Apple TV+ has unleashed a little magic of its own: A new trailer for They Call Me Magic, a four-part documentary chronicling Johnson’s rise to NBA godhood and beyond.
Directed by Dope’s Rick Famuyiwa, the doc clearly isn’t skimping on the guest star talking heads: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, President Barack Obama and many more all show up to praise Johnson, as the narrative tracks his ascent from NBA first overall draft pick, to Lakers champion, to business leader and advocate for those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. (Whether there’ll be a stop for “two-month tenured talk show host”, courtesy of the short-lived The Magic Hour, remains to be seen.)
That’s to say nothing of the presence of Johnson himself, who was clearly interviewed extensively here, and who comes off in the trailer as a humble, realistic dude who also just happens to also be one of the greatest basketball players in human history.
Anybody looking for the pure charge of 2020's The Last Dance (charting Jordan’s rise a few years later) might be out of luck here, though; the highlight reels might be just as electric, but the tone in the trailer is resolutely positive and hopeful—possibly owing to the personalities of the two men being chronicled, as much as filmmaker intent.
(It feels philosophically significant to note that Johnson is among the best passers in the history of the NBA; he still holds a number of records for assists, owing to his ability to get the ball exactly where it needed to be for his teammates to score, time and time again.)
They Call Me Magic made its world premiere today, at SXSW in Austin. The docuseries will premiere on AppleTV+ on April 22.