LOS ANGELES -- Magic Johnson had the title he"d constantly wanted. He had the strength to overview one that the most important franchises in sports, carte blanche.Anything he want to perform as president of basketball operations because that the Los Angeles Lakers, he had actually the power to do. Fire the coach. Trade any player. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss called him that repeatedly.

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But the just thing he really want was come go earlier to being Magic Johnson.Beloved public leader. Global celebrity. Lakers legend. Basketball ambassador.It"s awesome being that guy. And also Magic Johnson is an excellent at it.Being president of basketball operations because that the Lakers is hard. Really, really hard. And Magic Johnson never determined how to it is in Magic Johnson in that role, so he abruptly quit Tuesday night.As stunning as his decision was for everyone in the NBA, he was remarkably clean in explaining himself."I to be happier once I wasn"t the president," Johnson said. "When you gotta make trades, you"re no happy."Johnson enumerated every sorts the unsavory things about the job during an hourlong media session the spilled out into the hallways and corridors that Staples Center before the Lakers" last game that the season.He didn"t like: "the backstabbing, the whispering. Ns don"t prefer that. Ns don"t favor a most things that went on the didn"t have to go on."The fines and also the tampering and also the this and the that, i can"t assist young men who want me to aid them, or ns can"t tweet out. Choose Russell Westbrook, the was a an excellent feat the various other day. I couldn"t even tweet it out to say, "Hey, congratulations." If I had did that, everyone would have actually said, "He"s tampering." ns don"t prefer that. I prefer to it is in free."He really didn"t like having actually to do the decision on whether to maintain embattled coach Luke Walton."She offered me the power; the is the very same page. I could have excellent anything I want to, tomorrow. Yet I chose to action down," he said.But what he really didn"t it seems ~ to favor was the negativity he has confronted this season. Negativity that couldn"t charm his means out of.
There aren"t many cases in life that Magic Johnson hasn"t to be able to charm, contend or fight his way out of. The ones he couldn"t -- talk-show host, Lakers coach and now Lakers chairman -- he acquired away native quickly.Who demands it?Magic Johnson stared fatality in the face when he was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and decided he to be going to beat it. And he did. So then he determined that whatever was left that his life, he was going come spend exactly as he wanted to. Together he said, "I got a great life. Damn, I gained a good life outside of this. What the F ... What am i doing? I acquired a beautiful life. I"m going earlier to the beautiful life. I"m looking forward to it."That"s a beautiful sentiment.But it was additionally a cruel thing to carry out to a woman he considers to it is in family."I want to give thanks to my sister for allowing me to do this," Johnson said of Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. "I couldn"t face her come tell her, for this reason I had actually to do it this means because we love each other so much."They could love every other, yet telling the world before telling your household -- no to mention your ceo -- is weak.Yes, being the Lakers" chairman is hard, and if Johnson didn"t desire to store doing it, he didn"t need to keep doing it. But he could"ve speak it v with Buss and also planned his exit, rather of leaving the franchise in an embarrassing lurch.Leaving the way he did, v the franchise approaching one of the most important summers in recent history and through the instance with Walton still for this reason unsettled, feeling a lot favor bailing when things gained hard.People have actually jobs they don"t desire to do and can"t do. They find a method to carry out them, or one acceptable way out of them.Those close to Johnson speak he to be "deeply offended" by the constant accusations of tampering that followed him and also essentially required him into the shadows this season.
When that did talk, he always said as well much. That"s exactly how he always has to be and component of the reason he has been for this reason beloved. There"s literally an NBA award called after him, the Magic Johnson Award, offered to the player who has the ideal cooperation v the media. Magic was constantly that guy, as a player and also later as a publicly figure. He"s an excellent at it.But that"s not what gift an executive is. Not in a league for which info is not only commodified, however weaponized.Magic never identified how come play that game. He"s finest when the cameras space on. In the shadows, he shed his method -- and his identity.Jeanie Buss was simply as stunned together the rest of the human being to listen Johnson"s resignation. A couple of hours later, she placed out a classy statement and tweet, also as she and also the Buss family members processed the situation. In enhancement to being stunned, those close come the family said they were sad, angry and also disappointed.She invested the rest of Tuesday night huddled with basic manager rob Pelinka and also several near advisers in ~ the team"s headquarters in El Segundo.Johnson"s quotes around Pelinka dropped far brief of a ringing endorsement, i beg your pardon left countless wondering whether the factored into his decision to action down. Lakers resources strongly shouted that concept down also as Johnson"s quotes said otherwise."Do ns think rob is the ideal GM?" Johnson said. "That"s a decision Jeanie has to make. I worked well with him. I had no problems with him. Currently they say he had actually some bad, ns don"t know about that. A lot of my certified dealer friends had actually called, yet Jeanie has to make all the calls, that"s not calls for me come make. This is her organization."In a three-hour conference Monday, Buss had once again made it clear that she was providing Johnson the power to do the basketball decisions because that the franchise, including the strength to fire Walton and hire whichever coach with whom he thought he"d have a better rapport.He one of two people didn"t desire that strength or couldn"t handle it.So currently that strength is right earlier to where it constantly should have been -- v Jeanie Buss. She needs to start using it, rather of in search of someone else to happen it to.
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Magic Johnson describes to Rachel Nichols why he made the sudden decision to action down native the Lakers.

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Dan Le Batard says Magic Johnson has actually too lot else walking on external of the Lakers company to work hard enough for them.