On Tuesday evening I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw the following tweets:
I can confidently say that nobody saw this coming. As a matter of fact, Magic himself said that he was in meetings with Lakers ownership over the past week and didn’t mention anything at all about his future plans, or lack thereof.
Magic has never been about putting in the dirty work. He is a big picture guy. What it boils down to is that he wanted the glory of running the Lakers but didn’t want to do the actual work. So Magic went by the way of Phil Jackson, when he managed the Knicks. The math checks out on that one.
The strangest part about this whole resignation is the way that it happened. He didn’t tell Jeanie Buss or anybody else within the organization. He seemed to walk out of a meeting, catch some reporters and just said “yeah, I’m out.” He rambled on endlessly about how he has too much respect for Jeanie Buss and couldn’t face her to tell her that he is leaving.
What? Pardon me? Maybe my ears are clogged… He couldn’t be an adult and tell her face to face? So, he wants to be free from the Lakers, but he doesn’t want to actually face the music to make it happen? I feel like there is a pattern here.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I do NOT like the Lakers. To be honest, I don’t like a single thing about this franchise. But a storied franchise (who Magic played for, I might add) deserves better than to be dick slapped around by a guy who would rather have everyone else do the work for him.
Magic said that he just wasn’t having fun anymore. He couldn’t “be himself.” He couldn’t tweet about players like he wants to. And you have to feel bad for him. I mean, heaven help him if he’s having to do an actual job, where he has limitations to what he can and can’t do. Nobody has EVER survived that kind of hostile, authoritarian environment.
The funny part about this is that Magic was hired as the President of Basketball Operations, which doesn’t actually MEAN anything. Magic hired Rob Pelinka (a former agent) as the general manager of the team. Pelinka has handled all of the day to day operations while Magic was free to gallabant and do whatever was needed to recruit players to the Lakers, as well as be the face of the franchise.
During his long press conference, Magic laid tons of praise on players that he shipped out of town, due to Lebron showing up. He talked about DeAngelo Russell, Julius Randle and others having All Star seasons, all with other teams. He seemed to be making fun of his own terrible job, all while trying to smile and laugh it off.
This is exactly why someone like Magic Johnson doesn’t need to be in charge of basketball decisions. Magic is a likeable guy. He’s an intelligent, successful athlete, who, even though his career was cut short, has made himself in to a real success story. The Lakers don’t need this guy being the one out there trying to defend bad decisions that the team makes. Because, rest assured, there will be more bad decisions to speak defend.
There is more to come on this story. It doesn’t feel like we’re getting the whole picture painted properly here. I’ve heard different things around the league but I don’t want to tell tales out of school, so we’ll see what bubbles to the surface.
In the meantime, if you haven’t watched his rambling presser, it is absolutely worth your time: