“My right hand comes to me and says, ‘Magic just stepped down,’ ” James said on HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted, which aired Saturday. “I’m like, ‘You mean from out of his car? Get the (expletive) out of my face.’ … He’s like, ‘Go check your phone.’ ”
It just so happens that James wasn’t playing that night (due to his groin injury from December), but he was in the locker room and did indeed check his phone. he saw that Johnson had held an off the cuff(bizarre?) news conference telling reporters of his decision to vacate his job.
“No one had no idea,” James said. “We were like, ‘Damn, like right now?’ It was literally 70 minutes on the clock before (the game). I’m not playing, but my team is still playing, and you kind of decide to do that right here, right now. I feel like there’s a time and place for things, and I believe that you knew that you were going to make that decision, so why would you do it here and why would you do it now?”
James was obviously not happy at all with Johnson’s actions. Remember, he put his trust in Magic Johnson and made the decision to join the Lakers. He added that he met with Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka just days before Johnson’s announcement, and James didn’t get the impression Johnson was about to step down.
“Personally for me, I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization, having a conversation with Magic (last summer) and really kind of breaking it down and saying how we were going to make this ‘Showtime’ again, and I wanted to be part of that process,” James said.
“He explained to me Year 1 is going to be tough. … But I was OK with the process. At Year 16, you aren’t really supposed to be worrying about no damn process, especially for me because I’m in championship-mind mode all the time.
“So it was just weird for him to just be like, ‘I’m out of here’ and not even have no like, ‘Hey Bron, kiss my ass. I’m out of here.’ I would’ve been OK with that. ‘Hey Bron, it’s Magic. Kiss my ass, I’m gone.’ Not even that.”
Now that that chapter is over, look for the Lakers to hire James’ former Cleveland/NBA Championship coach, Tyronn Lue, who by the way also played for the Lakers when he wasn’t riding the bench.