11 April, 2019
What he said was shocking enough - Magic Johnson, less than two years after taking the reins of his beloved Los Angeles Lakers franchise, which had fallen on unprecedented hard times, was stepping down as president of basketball operations.
The Lakers will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season.
Johnson called an impromptu press conference ahead of the Lakers' final game of the regular season against the Portland Trail Blazers, announcing his decision.
"And I think I had more fun when I was able to the be big brother and ambassador to everybody".
There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson.
"I'm a free bird and I can't be handcuffed", he said.
Magic Johnson just wants to go back to having fun. "If we get one of these [free agents], we're going to be really good.I'm good with where I am", Johnson said. I don't like a lot of things that went on that didn't have to go on. "I can't help young men who want me to help them", he said.
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The Lakers paid tribute to Johnson, a Hall of Famer during his playing days with the team, in a brief statement.
Johnson's sudden decision ends another chapter in the remarkable life of the star point guard from Lansing, Michigan, who won an NCAA championship at Michigan State before claiming five National Basketball Association titles and three league MVP awards during his 12-year playing career as the leader of the Showtime Lakers.
Johnson said he is not stepping down because of differences he's had with the team's coach of three years, Luke Walton. "She gave me full power to do what I wanted to do, but I think that with her and I, I want to always preserve our relationship".
"My concern is over my relationship with my sister, Jeanie Buss".
Johnson's decision to step down from his role comes as the Lakers are finishing up what has been among the most-disappointing seasons in recent franchise history. Some of Johnson's other moves have worked out much better, including the Lakers' drafting of Lonzo Ball, the acquisition of Kyle Kuzma and the bargain signing of center JaVale McGee.
"Nobody. thought that the Lakers wouldn't make the playoffs when LeBron James came here, even with the injury", said Parker. Johnson also pointedly refused to say whether Pelinka should remain as the Lakers' general manager, saying the decision rested exclusively with Buss, whom he repeatedly called "my sister".
Johnson's decision to leave his role sent shockwaves throughout the franchise and the National Basketball Association as a world, particularly as the Lakers face a potentially future-defining summer. "I couldn't stand to tell her". "Because I knew I would be crying like a baby in front of her".