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Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

    Magic Johnson Steps Down As Lakers President


    Magic Johnson, the beloved former point guard behind five world titles for the Los Angeles Lakers, announced Tuesday night he was stepping down as the team’s president of basketball operations.

    Johnson was in his second season with the Lakers, who are currently 37-45 and will not be in the playoffs this year.

    The Lakers website says Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka are responsible for all basketball-related decisions. That included firing and hiring coaches and signing players.

    At an impromptu news conference Johnson told reporters, “I want to go back to having fun. I wanna go back being who I was before taking on this job,” according to CNN affiliate KTLA

    The Lakers had released a statement following Johnson’s announcement. The team said it was, “deeply grateful to Magic for all he has done as a player, an ambassador and an executive.”

    “We thank Magic 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,” the statement said. “He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family.”

    Johnson returned to the Lakers on February 2, 2017, to advise ownership on basketball and business. He wasted no time on saying what his intentions were and he was put in charge weeks later.

    Walton is 98-147 as coach of the Lakers, who have not had a postseason game since 2013.

    Magic said Tuesday he had more fun as a mentor to players, as a big brother figure. He said he couldn’t do that in his business role.

    He appeared to hint that he would have had to fire Walton on Wednesday, and it pushed him toward stepping down.

    “Tomorrow I would have to affect somebody’s livelihood and their life,” he said. “That’s not fun for me. That’s not who I am.”

    Johnson said his team was “halfway” toward the progress he once promised, with superstar Lebron James joining the team this season. He said another star will join the team this summer. “I think this team is really going to be able to contend for championships with the growth of the young players.”

    The basketball hall of famer told reporters Buss didn’t know Johnson was going to quit.

    He complained about back-stabbing and whispering.

    “I don’t like a lot of things that went on that didn’t have to go on,” he said.

    Lakewood High Schools own Alexander Blinky said, “I think that it’s sad that he stepped down, but he had to do it for himself.”

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