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“I owed him that” - Magic Johnson feels he should’ve talked to LeBron James before stepping down as LA Lakers' President of Basketball Operations

Magic Johnson during a press conference in 2019
Magic Johnson during a press conference in 2019
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Arhaan Raje

LA Lakers legend Magic Johnson played an instrumental role in helping the franchise sign LeBron James in the 2018 NBA free agency. Johnson was the Lakers' President of basketball operations at the time. However, in a surprising turn of events, the all-time great stepped down from his position in April 2019.

Magic Johnson declared his resignation in an impromptu press conference right before the LA Lakers' last game of the season. Jeanie Buss, the team's controlling owner at the time, and star player LeBron James were both unaware of the decision. In a recent interview with New York Times, Johnson said not talking to Buss or James about his resignation was one of his biggest mistakes as an executive.

“The only thing I probably would’ve did was probably talked to LeBron before I stepped down, because I felt that I owed him that, so that’s probably the only mistake I made was not talking to Jeanie and talking to LeBron before I actually did it. So, yes, I would do that different,” said Johnson.

The LA Lakers signed Magic Johnson as an executive in February 2017. They failed to make the playoffs during his tenure with the team. After the end of LeBron James' first season with the franchise, Johnson decided to leave the Lakers and returned to his role as an NBA ambassador.

The Hall of Famer Magic Johnson resigns as LA Lakers' team president https://t.co/VfVUPONDv4

LeBron James and LA Lakers turned their fortunes around after Magic Johnson's departure as president of basketball operations

LA Lakers were the 2020 NBA champions
LA Lakers were the 2020 NBA champions

Three months after Magic Johnson's shocking resignation, the LA Lakers managed to acquire long-term target Anthony Davis via trade. In their first season post Johnson's departure as an executive, the Lakers not only ended up qualifying for the playoffs, but they also won their 17th NBA title.

The closing call as the @Lakers become 2020 NBA Champions, capturing their 17th title in franchise history! #LakeShow https://t.co/jjgr4qvQ1n

LeBron James was named the finals MVP after the Lakers defeated his former team, the Miami Heat, in six games in the Orlando Bubble. The Lakers have been one of the top favorites for three straight seasons to lift the title since the 2019-20 campaign.

This year they managed to add another superstar to their ranks in the form of Russell Westbrook. The 2017 NBA MVP has formed one of the league's newest big threes alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the Lakers aim to win a record 18th NBA title.


Also Read: Who is Magic Johnson's wife, Cookie Johnson?


Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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