On Thursday, as the NBA celebrated the legendary careers of Dwyane Wade in Miami and Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson made headlines with an impromptu news conference, in which announced he was stepping down as the Los Angeles’ Lakers president.
“Today, I’m gonna step down as the president,” Johnson said, as he opened up about his relationship with team owner, Jeanie Buss. “Her and I have such an amazing relationship and I think that 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. I think that I had more fun when I was able to be the big brother and ambassador to everybody.”
The announcement came more than two years after Johnson stepped into the position in an attempt to restore the franchise’s winning history. However, amid rumors of tensions with Coach Luke Walton, the botched Anthony Davis trade and the drama surrounding LeBron James, Johnson decided to throw in the towel. Although Johnson never directly linked his decision to Walton, he alluded to the fact that the third year coach was expected to be fired, and considering Walton’s relationship with Buss, Johnson refused to let the job get in-between their relationship.
“(On Wednesday) I would have to affect somebody’s livelihood and their life,” Johnson said. “And I thought about it and I said, ‘That’s not fun for me. That’s not who I am.’ And then I don’t want to put her in the middle of us, even though she said, ‘Hey, you can do what you want to do.’ I know she has a great love for him and great love for me.”
But ultimately, Johnson said he’s ready to get back to his carefree life.
“I like to be free,” he said. “I’ve got a great life…what am I doing? I’ve got a beautiful life. I’m gonna go back to that beautiful life. I’m looking forward to it. Somebody is going to have to tell my boss, because I know she’s going to be sick. But I knew I couldn’t face her face-to-face and tell her.”
After learning the news, Buss was more than appreciative of Johnson’s work with the legendary franchise.
“Earvin, I loved working side by side with you. You’ve brought us a long way. We will continue the journey. We love you,” Buss said.
BREAKING: Magic Johnson has stepped down as Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations. pic.twitter.com/yrHkguOO02
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 10, 2019