The drama of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team is almost like a soap opera. On ESPN’s popular sports debate show First Take, Magic Johnson dropped some more bombs on the situation.
Hall of Fame basketball and business mogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson stopped by the First Take desk to chat with Molly Qerim, Stephen A. Smith, and Max Kellerman about his abrupt resignation as the President of Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I start hearing, ‘Magic, you are not working hard enough. Magic’s not in the office,'” Johnson told First Take. “People around the Lakers office were telling me Rob was saying things, Rob Pelinka, and I didn’t like those things being said behind my back, that I wasn’t in the office enough. So I started getting calls from my friends outside of basketball saying those things now were said to them outside of basketball now, just not in the Lakers office anymore.”
Johnson later added, when asked who had betrayed him in the Lakers organization: “If you are going to talk betrayal, it’s only with Rob.”
Lakers GM Rob Pelinka has a different recollection of what took place.
“I think the most important thing for me is the two years of being able to work side by side with Earvin are the some of the greatest memories I have in sports and work,” Pelinka said. “He is an unbelievable person to work with. He fills the room with joy and vision. And truly it’s saddening and disheartening to think he believes things are a misperception. I think all of us in life probably have been through things where maybe there’s third-party whispers or he said, she said things that aren’t true. I have talked to him several times since he decided to step away and we had many joy-filled conversations.”
When asked why he didn’t inform his free agent signee LeBron James about his departure, Magic said about The Shop soundbite, “I respect LeBron for what he just said.”
“I love LeBron, I love his family … but sometimes as a man, you have to make decisions based on your well-being. And I made that decision.”
Check out the interview below: