Lakers lose their ‘Magic’ as team president steps down

Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka and the team's President of Basketball Operations field questions from the media during an introductory press conference on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

A derailed season just went off the rails completely for the Los Angeles Lakers. Just before the Lakers were to play their finale at Staples Center, Earvin ” Magic” Johnson dropped the hammer on the franchise when he abruptly announced that he was stepping down as team president. Whoa. What?

During his impromptu press conference sounded like a man relieved to be able to have his life back. Apparently, team owner Jeanie Buss and superstar LeBron James was not aware of Johnson’s announcement coming down the pipeline.

“I cried before I came here, I’m about to cry now,” Johnson said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “But it’s hard when you love an organization as much as I love this organization, it’s hard when you love a person like I love Jeanie.”

Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations Earvin “Magic Johnson (left) and team general manager Rob Pelinka talk about expectations for the 2018-19 NBA season. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Yes, the Magic Man is gone. For the Lakers, as an organization, Johnson’s announcement to leave the leave in his official capacity as the top man on the team’s food chain, is going to be felt throughout this NBA postseason, NBA Draft and throughout the offseason, including free agency.

Johnson’s interview had a bit of everything. There were tears. There was that incredible Magic Johnson smile. And then there was the straight-laced Johnson that talked basketball, the future of the organization and what he missed in his role as president of basketball operations.

“I had more fun when I was able to be the big brother and the ambassador to everybody,” Johnson said, according to Yahoo! Sports.

How Johnson leaving the team will affect the future of the Lakers and LeBron James remain to be seen. But the immediate aftermath of the Hall of Famer choosing to leave it all behind is shocking. The Lakers immediately issued a statement regarding the departure of Johnson.

“There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson. 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, Cookie, 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.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1373 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.

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