Magic Johnson’s resignation from the Los Angeles Lakers did not sit well with LeBron James.
The star reflected on the day he learned Johnson would be stepping down from his position as the president of basketball operations. Johnson resigned in an impromptu (and fairly bizarre) press conference, during which he admitted he had yet to tell the team’s owner, Jeanie Buss, about his decision. Apparently, Johnson didn’t tell James ahead of time either.
“My right hand comes to me and says, ‘Magic just stepped down,’” James said on HBO’s The Shop, which aired Saturday. “I’m like, ‘You mean from out of his car? Get the (expletive) out of my face.’ … He’s like, ‘Go check your phone.’”
Indeed, the news confirmed what LeBron’s friend informed him. Magic was bailing on Los Angeles.
“No one had no idea,” James said on his show. “We were like, ‘Damn, like right now?’ It was literally 70 minutes on the clock before (the game). I’m not playing, but my team is still playing, and you kind of decide to do that right here, right now. I feel like there’s a time and place for things, and I believe that you knew that you were going to make that decision, so why would you do it here and why would you do it now?”
James seemed to take the news to heart, because Johnson had played an integral role in convincing him to join the Lakers. LeBron was coming off a four-year stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are LeBron’s hometown team, but Johnson sold the star coming to L.A.
“Personally for me, I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization, having a conversation with Magic (last summer) and really kind of breaking it down and saying how we were going to make this ‘Showtime’ again, and I wanted to be part of that process,” James said. “He explained to me Year 1 is going to be tough. … But I was OK with the process. At Year 16, you aren’t really supposed to be worrying about no damn process, especially for me because I’m in championship-mind mode all the time.
“So it was just weird for him to just be like, ‘I’m out of here’ and not even have no like, ‘Hey Bron, kiss my (expletive). I’m out of here.’ I would’ve been OK with that. ‘Hey Bron, it’s Magic. Kiss my (expletive), I’m gone.’ Not even that.”
LeBron is on contract for three more seasons, which is good news for L.A. with the superstar openly venting frustrations with the organization. While LeBron will probably be around for a while, the Lakers did see more turnover aside from Johnson. They fired coach Luke Walton, and are expected to hire Ty Lue, the former Cleveland coach, to be the next coach of the Lakers At this point, it’s probably wise for the Lakers to bend over backward to keep him happy.