Magic Johnson abruptly quit as the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations Tuesday night, citing his desire to return to the simpler life he enjoyed as a wealthy businessman and beloved former player before taking charge of this franchise just over two years ago.
Johnson didn’t tell owner Jeanie Buss or general manager Rob Pelinka before he stepped in front of reporters about 90 minutes before the final game of the Lakers’ sixth consecutive losing season. Los Angeles was 37-44 heading into its game against Portland, missing the playoffs yet again despite the offseason addition of LeBron James.
“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.”