“Lakers-The Magic-Replaced by a Quitter”
It was a shocker, without a rationale explanation.
Magic Johnson, the most popular Laker in its great history, has walked out on the franchise, leaving it in disarray.
This from a man who brought the franchise together in its glory years run, leading them to NBA titles, and likely saving the franchise and maybe even the league with his arrival corresponding to Larry Bird and then Michael Jordan.
It was a coward’s way out of the job he created, wanted, then failed at.
He never spoke to owner Jeannie Buss. He never told his GM-Rob Pelinka. There was no communication with LeBron James, whom he lured to LA just 9-months ago.
Instead, Magic became Magic, doing what he wanted, bailing on the franchise. Just like when he wanted to try coaching, and talked his way into that job with disastrous results, a 10-game losing streak. Doing what he wanted, by being a party animal and contracting the HIV virus so many years ago.
Magic views himself as an ambassador of everything. The NBA, business development, owning a piece of the Dodgers, but his staying power on these projects short lived.
He wants to operate by his own rules, work when he wants, play golf when he wants, be a TV celebrity when he wants.
He lasted less than two years with the Lakers, as losses piled upon losses. His player acquisitions aside from writing a Buss family check to get King James, have been disastrous.
He eroded the lockeroom by attempting to package all his young players in the ill-fated Anthony Davis-New Orleans trade talks.
He hired the GM-Rob Pelinka but has seemingly turned on him. He wanted to oust his coach. He signed 4-free agents in the off season to compliment James, none of whom was a difference maker.
You tell me what his glowing accomplishments are since his playing days ended?
And it was much the same when he wanted to be the face, the spokesman of the Dodgers.
A group of tampering fines later, he realized he couldn’t do what he wanted to do.
Oh he was beloved as a player, but that was a long time ago.
Insinuations everywhere that he was never committed to do the job the way a lead basketball exec should, grind thru the season, scout, work hard at the league level, help your players grow. None of that happened.
Insinuations too of some personal clashes with his own employees, in a story that has still yet to be exposed, but is rumored coming, and will paint him in a poor light.
He didn’t like the backstabbing he observed in the front office or his lockerroom, yet these were his hires, his player signings, and he was never around to deal with it.
He didn’t like the criticism, but it was his organization that paid LeBron James all that money, then let James become disinterested in the team, while the player was out about developing his post career business entities in Los Angeles. His player, his problems now.
These type of hires never work out. As great as they were, Michael Jordan has had no success in Charlotte, and he is viewed as a Magic type exec, fly in, do some work, go play golf and go to the casinos.
Larry Bird never really accomplished a lot with his home state Indiana Pacers. Kevin McHale got bounced out of Minnesota. Elgin Baylor’s great career ended badly as the leader of the woeful LA Clippers.
And now Earvin Johnson can put his name next to them as failures in the front office.
The Lakers history has been written by doers, like legendary owner Jerry Buss and then his General Manager Jerry West.
They were the catalyst who made deals that brought Johnson to LA, James Worthy,, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. and so many more.
The NBA has changed, so much for the bad, that you have to placate the stars, whether it’s LeBron, or Anthony Davis, or Kevin Durant. Magic Johnson wanted to be placated and be allowed to do what he wanted as the team continues to flounder.
Who could have thought it would be six years without a playoff spot.
Where do they go from here? They need great leadership, with values, work ethic and basketball smarts.
Jerry West is in his 80’s. Legendary owner Jerry Colangelo is from a different era. Pat Riley is still in Miami. Phil Jackson is retired with health issues.
Magic Johnson has left the Lakers in chaos, and left his reputation in tatters, regardless of the stupidity of Lakers fans who think he can do no wrong. Look at what he has done to set the franchise back again.
The season opened with a thundering slam dunk by LeBron James in the opening minutes against Portland. It ended like a devastating blocked shot, a thundering rejection with Johnson quitting on the job an hour before the final game of the season began against Portland..
The Lakers are in chaos. Even their legendary star wants out from the mess he created.
You’d never think you’d put his name in the same sentence with the verb to describe what just happened.
Magic Johnson is a quitter.