Magic Johnson shocked the basketball world by stepping down as the Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball of Operations. He was supposed to lead them back to the promised land, having already brought in LeBron James with the planning of hopefully landing another star over the summer. Now he’s gone, mid-rebuild.
On the surface, it looks like Johnson quit before things were too far gone. He was letting Lakerland down — more than he already had as President of Basketball Operations.
He did them a favor, though. And in more ways than one.
With the exception of bringing in James, Johnson brought nothing to the table while running the team. He surrounded James with has-beens and never-wases, not to mention a cast of young guys James was looking to trade.
From the decision-making standpoint, he was not good. Unfortunately for him, that’s kind of an important part of his job.
But now Johnson can finally work his magic. (Couldn’t help it, not even remotely sorry about it.)
Johnson mentioned something in the course of his last press conference as President of Basketball Operations:
“I thought about Dwyane Wade retiring [Wednesday], and I can’t even tweet that out or be there,” Johnson said. “Serena Williams called me a week ago and said, ‘Will you mentor me and be on my advisory board?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m going to do that.’
“So when Ben Simmons called and we went through the proper channels and they made me look like the bad guy out of that situation, but I didn’t do anything wrong,” he continued. “I was thinking about all those times, all those guys who want me to mentor them or be a part of their lives, and I can’t even do that. I had more fun on the other side.”
He also mentioned how he’d been “handcuffed” and was finally a “free bird.” Johnson couldn’t sell players on the LA lifestyle and what it was like to be a Laker in the manner he wanted. Now he can, making him a far more valuable asset to Los Angeles than he ever was as President of Basketball Operations.
This will be the way he leads the Lakers back to the postseason and beyond.