L.A. Lakers legend Magic Johnson shockingly resigns as president hours BEFORE their final game of NBA season
The Los Angeles Lakers have had one of the most disappointing seasons in the franchise’s history, considering they landed one of the greatest players in the history of basketball in LeBron James last summer.
Then, prior to their 104-101 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers last night that finished their season, Lakers legend Magic Johnson stepped down as the team’s president.
In a stunning hour-long press conference prior to the game, Johnson spoke about how he just wasn’t happy operating in the cut-throat world of NBA executives.
“I was happier when I wasn’t the president,” Johnson said. “When you gotta make trades, you’re not happy.
“The backstabbing, the whispering. I don’t like that. I don’t like a lot of things that went on that didn’t have to go on.”
Johnson was often reprimanded and fined for speaking his mind and commenting on players which led to accusations of tampering.
The 12-time All-Star point guard became so beloved in the first place because of how affable he is and there’s literally an NBA award named after him – the Magic Johnson Award – which is given to the player who has the best cooperation with the media.
He couldn’t be that man anymore in his current role and it began to suffocate him.
“The fines and the tampering and the this and the that, I can’t help young men who want me to help them, or I can’t tweet out. Like Russell Westbrook, that was a great feat the other day. I couldn’t even tweet it out to say, ‘Hey, congratulations.’ If I had did that, everyone would have said he’s tampering. I don’t like that. I like to be free.”
Johnson admitted he did not tell Lakers owner Jeanie Buss the news prior to the press conference because he said he would have cried and he couldn’t face her.
Given that the Lakers season ended without them even close to the playoffs, it seemed written on the wall that Johnson would fire head coach Luke Walton in the morning. He did not have the propensity to do so.
Instead, he chose to step down himself and, once again, avoid the situation.
“She [Buss] gave me the power, that is the same page. I could have done anything I wanted to, tomorrow. But I decided to step down,” he said.
It seems like Johnson has walked away when the job was at it’s toughest. He didn’t want the power he thought he did and by his very nature, he never should have had it. It was his stature that was the allure.
That same stature that helped lure Lebron James to L.A. No doubt the King had eyes on the west coast for business/family reasons anyway, but he was still very vocal about Magic’s influence on getting him to sign.
“And now being able to partner with Magic Johnson, someone I kind of like looked up to when I was younger, you know, and wanted to make no-look passes like Magic, wanted to get on the break and be ‘Showtime’ like Magic, and then for it to all come to fruition at this point, I think timing is everything,” James said last July.
Now, Johnson is no more and Rob Pelinka is left to scramble with Buss ahead of a historic free agency class that the Lakers have positioned themselves – at least financially – to shoot for.
With such internal disarray and no clear-cut infrastructure, the Lakers will flop this summer no question. More than that, Johnson didn’t exactly give Pelinka a ringing endorsement on the way out.
“Do I think Rob is the right GM?” Johnson said. “That’s a decision Jeanie has to make. I worked well with him. I had no problems with him. Now they say he had some bad, I don’t know about that. A lot of my agent friends had called, but Jeanie has to make all the calls, that’s not calls for me to make. This is her organisation.”
It’s worth pointing out that when Johnson contracted HIV back in 1991, many thought it was a death sentence. Johnson said he would fight it and win – he did that.
Since then, he has chosen to live his life exactly as he pleases and do whatever makes him happy. No one can fault the man for that. The only problem with that endearing sentiment is that it appears to be at his beloved Lakers’ expense this time.
Source: SportsLatest TS