Magic Johnson’s time with the Los Angeles Lakers is done.
Johnson abruptly stepped down as the organization’s president of basketball operations on Tuesday night, just hours before the Lakers regular season finale at the Staples Center.
“I had more fun when I was able to be the big brother and the ambassador to everybody,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that the rules regarding tampering in the NBA was a big issue for him. One example he gave during his announcement was that he couldn’t congratulate Russell Westbrook when he dropped 20-20-20 last week, or that he couldn’t congratulate Dwyane Wade publicly in his home finale.
“That was a great feat the other day, and I couldn’t even tweet it out and say, ‘Hey, congratulations man,’” Johnson said, via the Los Angeles Times. “If I had did that, everybody would have been, ‘Oh he’s tampering!” I don’t like that. I like to be free.
“I got a great life. I’m like, ‘Damn I have a great life outside of this. What am I doing? You know, I have a beautiful life. I’m going to go back to that beautiful life. I’m looking forward to it.”
Johnson, who played 13 seasons for the Lakers, was hired as the president of basketball operations in February 2017.
Johnson hasn’t told Jeanie Buss about his decision
Johnson said that he hasn’t yet told his boss, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, of his decision to step down.
He also said he met with Buss on Monday, where the two held a three hour meeting about the future of the organization. If he would have told her in person, he would have been “crying like a baby in front of her.”
“Somebody going to have to tell my boss,” Johnson said. “I know she’s going to be sick, but I knew I couldn’t face her face-to-face, even though I was just with her yesterday.”
Magic said he had multiple conversations with people within the organization about the future of the organization, including Buss, while fully knowing that he isn’t going to be there, too.
Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka also visited with LeBron James and his agent, Rich Paul, on Saturday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, however did not mention that he was about to step down.
He also said this isn’t about coach Luke Walton, who many expected would be fired by Johnson at the end of the season.
“I like Luke a lot. So what, we have different opinions about different things,” Johnson said, via ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “That’s OK. That happens in life. But my concern is really my relationship with my sister, and that’s Jeanie Buss. That’s all I care about. All the rest of the stuff don’t really matter.”
The Lakers currently hold a 37-44 record, just slightly better than the team’s record last season under Johnson. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2013.
This post will be updated with more information shortly.
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