*Magic Johnson, you’ve got some serious ‘splainin’ ta do. If you haven’t heard, a teary-eyed Johnson dropped a bomb Tuesday night when he announced out of nowhere that he has quit as the Los Angeles Laker’s president of basketball operations.
Johnson’s dreadful announcement came before the Lakers’ regular-season finale, in which they lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, a 104-101.
“It’s a difficult decision. I cried before I came here,” Johnson said “I am about to cry now. It’s hard when you love an organization the way I love this organization. It’s hard when you love a person like I love Jeanie [Buss]. I don’t want to disappoint her.”
Nope, he may not have wanted to disappoint the Lakers’ owner, but he also wants to get back to having good times in his life.
“I want to go back to having fun,” he said. “I want to go back to being who I was before taking on this job.”
With the Lakers just finishing another dismal season, a lot of folks figured Johnson’s decision had to do with team coach Luke Walton ‘s future.
“We love Luke [Walton], so I got to make a decision and that’s a tough thing,” Johnson said. “I’m good with where I am. I’m happy. I want to do the things I used to do, so I had to weigh both situations, so this is better for me.”
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Johnson said he had not informed Buss or general manager Rob Pelinka of his decision before talking to reporters. He later told ESPN‘s Rachel Nichols that he didn’t tell Buss first because he was afraid she would have talked him out of it.
Johnson’s announcement was not only a surprise to the media, but to the team and the team executives which includes owner Jeannie Buss and General Manager Rob Pelinka. He told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he didn’t tell Buss first because he was afraid she would have talked him out of it.
“I’m going to be around whenever she needs me,” Johnson said. “Trust me. … It’s going to be hard for her to come and hear this right now. I get it. Because it was hard for me to go do that, to make this decision and come to this conclusion. But she’s going to be fine, and I’m going to be fine.”
The Lakers thanked Johnson in a statement, saying in part:
“There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson. … He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family.” Buss echoed those sentiments in a tweet, writing: “Earvin, I loved working side by side with you. You’ve brought us a long way. We will continue the journey. We love you.”
Sources told ESPN that Buss, Pelinka, chief financial officer Joe McCormack, chief operating officer Tim Harris and manager of special projects Linda Rambis huddled together in an all-hands-on-deck meeting in El Segundo, California, on Tuesday following Johnson’s announcement.
ESPN reports that, surprise, the Lakers organization is currently “paralyzed” by Johnson’s sudden departure.
This is definitely one of those times when we end a story as Developing …