NBA legend, Magic Johnson has abruptly quit as the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations, citing his desire to return to enjoying his life as a wealthy businessman two years after he took over.
The 59-year-old made the announcement in front of reporters about 90 minutes before the final game of the Lakers’ sixth consecutive losing season on Tuesday night.
“I want to go back to having fun,” Johnson said before fighting off tears. “I want to go back to being who I was before taking on this job. We’re halfway there with LeBron coming (last summer). I think this summer, with that other star coming in, whoever is going to bring him in, I think this team is really going to be in position to contend for a championship with the growth of the young players.”
“Today I’m going to step down as the president,” Johnson said.
The 16-time NBA champion who didn’t inform owner Jeanie Buss or general manager Rob Pelinka about his shocking decision said: “I couldn’t face her to tell her,” he said, referring to Buss. He later added that he would find her at Staples Center to address her in person.
The Lakers also issued a team statement at halftime, calling Johnson “not only a Lakers icon but our family.”
“There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson,” it said. “We are deeply grateful to Magic for all that he has done for our franchise as a player, an ambassador and an executive. We thank him for his work these past two years as our President of Basketball Operations and wish him, (wife) Cookie, (children) Andre, EJ and Elisa all the best with their next steps. He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family. As we begin the process of moving forward, we will work in a measured and methodical fashion to make the right moves for the future of our organization.”