Magic Johnson’s abrupt and unexpected resignation as President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers raised more than a few eyebrows. Especially considering the fact that Johnson announced his resignation to the media before even telling Lakers owner Jeannie Buss, head coach Luke Walton, or any of the players on the team including LeBron James.
“I couldn’t stand to tell her,” Johnson said when asked about informing his boss Jeanie Buss about his decision, admitting that she probably would have talked him out of it.
Following Johnson’s announcement, many in the media speculated that his resignation might have had something to do with a yet-to-be-published ESPN article that reportedly portrays him in a negative light in his role as the face of the Lakers organization.
As word spread through the Lakers’ organization and the NBA, several people wondered whether Johnson’s departure was related to a yet-to-be-published article by ESPN that is said to address allegations about Johnson’s conduct with employees.
“That story is wrong,” Johnson told the Los Angeles Times.
He later added to a group of reporters: “Never disrespected anybody. Never did anything bad. Am I tough? Hell, yeah! You work for me, I’m demanding. But at the same time I’m fair. They’ve been talking about that article for how many months? Everybody running, ‘Oh they’re writing an article.’ I’m gonna say, why didn’t they interview anybody at ESPN? If I was doing something wrong to employees disrespecting, this or that, think they would’ve hired me twice?”
Johnson also said, according to The Athletic Lakers beat writer Bill Oram, “No. I know that article is not an accurate article. I can tell you that now. …Now it’s some disgruntled, former Laker employees (talking to reporters). Yeah, they gonna say (what) they gonna say, ‘cause they wasn’t doing their jobs. So what is a person going to do? Point the finger bad about the person who fired them. I’m good. I’m a big boy.”
Based on all of the reports over the past season about the infighting between Magic, Buss, coach Luke Walton and GM Rob Pelinka, it kind of sounds like Magic Johnson himself is one of those disgruntled former Lakers employees.