Magic Johnson is no longer the president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. He wasn’t fired, he stepped down, and some would say ceremoniously — by holding an impromptu press conference, while others might think it unceremonious — without discussing it first with owner Jeanie Buss, in particular.
I think the latter is what truly makes some who follow the Lakers, or the NBA league, or sports in general, quite critical of Magic Johnson more than anything else. But, for what?
“She doesn’t know I’m standing here because I know I would be crying like a baby in front of her — even though I’m about to cry now. But it’s the right thing to do. Right move to make.”
[…]what I didn’t like was the backstabbing and the whispering. I don’t like that. I don’t like a lot of things that went on that didn’t have to go on.— Earvin “Magic” Johnson
One of the most shocking pieces of information to come out of those interviews is that Lakers owner Jeanie Buss did not know Johnson was going to resign on Tuesday. As it turns out, LeBron James wasn’t told, either. This despite Johnson meeting with the two parties in separate meetings as recently as the weekend. — uproxx.com
They might love each other, but telling the world before telling your family — not to mention your boss — is weak.
Yes, being the Lakers’ president is hard and if Johnson didn’t want to keep doing it, he didn’t have to keep doing it. But he could’ve talked it through with Buss and planned his exit, instead of leaving the franchise in an embarrassing lurch.
Leaving the way he did, with the franchise approaching one of the most important summers in recent history and with the situation with Walton still so unsettled, feels a lot like bailing when things got hard. — Ramona Shelburne _ESPN Senior Writer
You will notice that the basketball pundits will have only heard that Magic Johnson didn’t talk to Buss first. They are more concerned about the perceived slight towards the Lakers owner than anybody or anything else. They also seem to want to project their indignation onto Jeannie Buss even though her reaction certainly contain no acrimony of any sort.
Magic Johnson’s role of president of basketball operations is similar to general manager. As Jeanie Buss, the CEO, and owner described it to Fox Sports Radio, “He makes all basketball decisions. He is the one that laid down the path that led to bringing LeBron here, he is at the top of the organizational chart when it comes to basketball, and he’s done a fantastic job.”
Meh! He did what he could with what he could. But he obviously wasn’t happy doing it.
“I had more fun on the other side than on this side because now, tomorrow, I would have to affect someone’s livelihood and their life. And I thought about that. That’s not fun for me.” — Earvin “Magic” Johnson
The absurd argument of Magic Johnson quitting on Jeanie Buss warrants decoupling. But Magic Johnson did not feel he could do the job to Jeanie Buss’s expectation, nor to the irrational expectations of everyone else, including the players.
By the way, basketball is a game, and like any other game in sports it is built on pure chance, not absolute guarantees.
Magic Johnson was honest and forthcoming in the moment he realized it in himself that he could not deliver these absurd guarantees. Many people erroneously presume that his trigger moment happened during or before their last meetings — and reactive people will only overlook that assumption because of how we are all conditioned by social dominance orientation — where leaders are supposed to take the credit, and pass the blame.
Also the media and the Lakers fans are delusional with the sort of entitlement being handed over to this one organization out of 30. That delusion absolutely got to Magic Johnson, but didn’t get the best of him.
This storied organization has to compete like any other team does, but as a for-profit organization, they are doing better than most of those teams.
Trust me, Jeanie Buss and the Lakers are gonna be alright.
So Magic, I don’t blame you. Give the owner back the ball and let her call the shots and be wholly accountable.