“I was happier when I wasn’t the president,” said Magic Johnson, who resigned as the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations.
He said wanted to go back to the simple life of being a wealthy businessman, a beloved former player for one of the greatest franchises in basketball history. He just didn’t want to be president anymore.
Johnson also indicated that his inability to tweet congratulatory statements to current NBA players for their achievements because of the NBA’s insane tampering rules was another reason he stepped down from power.
“I can’t tweet out like Russell Westbrook, that was a great feat the other day,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t have even tweeted it out to say, ‘Hey, congratulations, man!’ If I had done that then everyone would be like, ‘Oh, he’s tampering!’”
That is just ridiculous. It is clear that Johnson wasn’t the best candidate for the job and his commitment to the team wasn’t his first priority.
Johnson should have been well aware of what the job entailed before he had accepted it. When Johnson took over as president of the Lakers, the team was in a funk ever since Kobe Bryant tore his achilles, and they were unable to attract any marquee stars to join the purple and gold. Johnson stated his plan since taking on the job was to sign two free-agent stars to help bring the Lakers back into title contention. He was halfway there: Johnson and current general manager Rob Pelinka were able to land the best player in the league in LeBron James during the summer of 2018.
Even so, it was clear to those around him that Johnson wasn’t cut out for the job.
“Since taking over as president of the Lakers, Magic Johnson never fully committed to the job, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweeted. “Often he was traveling and away from the team. His office hours were limited. He didn’t do a lot of scouting. Running an NBA team takes a tremendous commitment of time and energy.”
The worst part about Johnson’s surprising resignation is the fact that he couldn’t man up to let his boss, Jeanie Buss, know that he was quitting on the team. The reason he couldn’t tell her was because he cares too much for Buss, who he considers his “sister.”
“It’s hard when you love an organization the way I love this organization, Johnson stated. “It’s hard when you love a person like I love Jeanie. I don’t want to hurt her.”
If Johnson cared for the organization and the people he worked for, he should have been upfront about it instead of going to the media first. It was a coward move.
“Somebody’s going to have to tell my boss because I knew I couldn’t be face-to-face and tell her, Johnson said according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. “…I couldn’t stand to tell her.”
Johnson’s capability in running a team and guiding them in the right direction was tested after a somewhat messy 2018 offseason. His foolish decision to sign players such as Javale McGee, Lance Stephenson and Rajon Rondo was the icing on a disgusting cake.
With the Lakers approaching one of their most important offseasons in a while, Johnson bailing at the end of the regular season is not a good look for the Lakers, who are looking to sign a big free-agent. The situation has brought to light the complete dysfunction the organization was previously hiding. The truth is they have been dysfunctional for a long, long time.
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