Ervin “Magic” Johnson dropped a bombshell on Tuesday night ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers’ final game of the 2018-19 season when he suddenly announced that he’s stepping down as President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Magic Johnson has announced he is stepping down as Lakers' President of Basketball Operations. pic.twitter.com/a5Sk3rJMQh
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 10, 2019
“Today, I’m going to step down as the president,” Johnson told a stunned crowd of reporters gathered outside the Lakers’ locker room.
After saying “I’m free” at one point, Johnson added, “I feel like a monkey has been lifted off my back.”
Johnson won five NBA titles as a player shared frustrations regarding multiple tampering investigations by the league office and his inability to mentor young men outside the organization.
Johnson said, “I was like, ‘I have a great life outside of this. What am I doing?’ So, I’m going to go back to that beautiful life. And I’m looking forward to it.”
Johnson said that he hasn’t yet told his boss, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, of his decision to step down. He met with Buss on Monday and held a three-hour meeting with her about the direction of the organization, he said.
“Somebody going to have to tell my boss,” Johnson said. “I know she’s going to be sick, but I knew I couldn’t face her face-to-face, even though I was just with her yesterday.”
The Lakers will enter this summer with a lot more questions than answers. One logical choice to replace Johnson is actually already in the same arena. Jerry West currently is an advisor for the Los Angeles Clippers, but a reunion could be in the works if he’s interested in the challenge of making the Lakers great again.