Top Ten Videos to watch

HISTORY Brings 'Roots' Cast And Crew To The White House For Screening
Graduates tossing caps into the air
Freddie Gray Baltimore Protests
Mid section of man in graduation gown holding diploma
Legendary Baseball Player Tony Gwynn's Family Files A Lawsuit Against Big Tobacco
ME.jailhouse#2.0117.CW Montebello City Council has approved use of a private contractor to run the n
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Addresses Police Misconduct At Chicago City Council Meeting
WWII Soldiers Standing In A Flag Draped Sunset - SIlhouette
Students Taking a College Exam
Bill Cosby Preliminary Hearing
Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Louisville, Kentucky
Worried black businesswoman at desk
Tyler Perry And Soledad O'Brien Host Gala Honoring Bishop T.D. Jakes' 35 Years Of Ministry
Teacher with group of preschoolers sitting at table
FBI Officials Discuss Apprehension Of Explosions Suspect After Three-Day Manhunt
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta Falcons
Protests Erupt In Chicago After Video Of Police Shooting Of Teen Is Released
Nine Dead After Church Shooting In Charleston
Portrait of senior African woman holding money
President Bush Speals At Federalist Society's Gala
Police Line Tape
Senior Woman's Hands
Police officers running
New Orleans Residents Return to Housing Projects
David Banner
Leave a comment

Can Magic Johnson Spark Black Interest in Baseball?When Magic Johnson and a group of fellow investors plunked down $2.15 billion to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers, the deal was the largest amount ever paid for a sports franchise.

SEE ALSO: 2012 Obliterating US Heat Records

But Johnson’s involvement in the deal could possibly mean more than just the further diversification of the former NBA great’s business portfolio.

Johnson, who has already become the face of the organization, also has an opportunity to lend his star power to baseball, perhaps spurring the increased participation of African-American players and fans.

According to a Fox Sports report, Johnson has a stake in a sport in which the number of black players and fans has been its lowest numbers in several decades.

Sixty-five years after Jackie Robinson integrated baseball wearing a Dodgers uniform, African-Americans and baseball have an estranged relationship. For example, the percentage of African-Americans on Opening Day rosters has dropped from 18 percent of players in 1991 to 8.5 percent last year.

In addition, only nine percent of fans who attended a major league game last season were African-American, reported a Scarborough Research study. Meanwhile, only six percent of African-Americans consider baseball to be their favorite sport, according to a separate Harris Poll.

However, Tommy Hawkins, the Dodgers’ VP of communications from 1987 to 2005, said Johnson’s involvement in baseball is great news but admitted that one man couldn’t resuscitate African-American interest in the game alone.

Hawkins said:

“Magic will not be able to wave a magic wand over baseball and make that kind of meaningful impact. I think it’s great that he becomes a part-owner, but a lot of work needs to be done to reignite the black response.”

Currently, there are several outreach programs in urban areas that help generate interest in baseball including Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) initiative. New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia and Boston’s Carl Crawford both participated in RBI as young players.

For his part, Johnson is working with the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Robinson’s daughter, Sharon, is set to be an advisor and focus mostly on community outreach.

The 2012-2013 season has just started and Johnson wants show baseball he’s serious.

In attendance at the Dodger’s opening game last Thursday against the San Diego Padres, he told the San Jose Mercury News:

“When my group bought this team, I said I was going to be there with them, and for them. Today I wanted to show the players exactly what I meant.”

Let’s see if African-Americans respond to Magic’s presence on the baseball diamond like they did to his presence on the basketball court.


Guide To Finding Your Black Family On The 1940 U.S. Census

Are You Supporting ‘Stand Your Ground’ And Voter Suppression?

Brett Johnson is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based writer and the founder of the music and culture blog

Also On News One: