Magic: L.A. ready for NFL team

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson says Los Angeles is ready for the return of an NFL team.

And he thinks it will happen soon, according to Yahoo! Sports.

"I think for the first time, I truly believe we're going to get a team. Finally," Johnson said. "Everybody is on board. The city is on board. The business community is on board. The NFL is on board. Finally we have momentum. In the next couple years, at least in the next 24 months, I think one team will be coming. I don't know what team that will be, but I believe in the next two years we'll have a team."

Farmers Field, a proposed $1.5 billion downtown football stadium connected to an expanded Los Angeles Convention Center, is ready for construction. A competing stadium project proposed by real estate magnate Ed Roski in the City of Industry has been ready to push dirt since 2009, with little traction.

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and two high-ranking Raiders front-office personnel met with several city officials in July about the potential of moving his team from Oakland to San Antonio, the San Antonio Express-News reported last month.

Johnson, part of a group that bought the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 for $2 billion, said he would welcome a Raiders return to Los Angeles.

"It would be great to have the Raiders back in L.A., I would love for that to happen," Johnson said. "But that's going to be up to Mark and the Raiders and the NFL. But I would love to have the Raiders back in L.A. where they belong.

"We just want a team, we want a team in the worst way."

Johnson hung out Tuesday in the Raiders' VIP tent for the team's joint practice with the Dallas Cowboys, alongside former L.A. Raiders including Jay Schroeder, franchise sacks leader Greg Townsend and Jerry Robinson. Johnson was a regular at Raiders games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and has also been to games in Oakland.

"Al Davis came to all our championship games" with the Lakers, Johnson told ESPNLA 710 AM radio. "I was a Raider season-ticket holder. I'm a Raider diehard.

"Al used to be in his all-white [outfit]. That was so cool. He watched every Finals we had. What was so cool back in the day, we all hung out together -- Marcus Allen, Howie Long -- we hung out with them; they hung out with us. We came to see their games; they came to see our games. I'm just hoping, in the next two years or so, we can finally get a team back to Los Angeles."

Pressed on the Raiders returning, Johnson laughed.

"I would love that," he said. "San Antonio? Come on. The Spurs?

"Mark knows there's only one place he can go -- that's L.A. San Antonio? Come on now. Come on."

Information from Raiders report Paul Gutierrez and's Arash Markazi was used in this report.

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