Magic Johnson and Luke Walton Did Not Speak for 'Weeks'

Sherman Parsons
April 11, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, smiles as he introduces new draft players, Moritz Wagner, and guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, r in El Segundo, Calif., Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

On ESPN's "First Take" Wednesday morning, Stephen A. Smith reported that Johnson wanted to fire Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka before he made a decision to step down. But Johnson repeatedly mentioned Buss' affinity for Walton and Johnson's desire not to cause upheaval between them.

In the 1993-94 National Basketball Association season, Magic Johnson took over as coach of the Lakers late in the year.

After failing to pull a deal for a superstar to pair with LeBron James out of his hat during the offseason or before the trade deadline, Magic Johnson abruptly resigned as Lakers president prior to LA's last game of the franchise's sixth straight losing season. A short time later, the Lakers released a statement about Johnson's decision.

"I'm good with where I am", Johnson said Tuesday as his time with the Lakers came to an end. On his infamous early-season meeting with Luke: "I think everybody blew that up".

Since making his National Basketball Association debut in 1979, Johnson has been affiliated with the Lakers as a player, coach and minority owner, in addition to his run as president.

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Johnson, who announced he was HIV positive in 1991, said that his health is "wonderful" and was not a factor in his decision.

According to some, 59-year-old Johnson, who has a multitude of other business interests, was never fully committed to his executive role with the Lakers.

"Serena Williams called me about a week ago and asked me to mentor her and be on her advisory board, and I thought "yeah, I'm going to do that", Johnson said. Outside of signing LeBron James, the Lakers had difficulty bringing in big name players.

It doesn't sound as if Rob Pelinka is getting Magic Johnson's endorsement.

League rules prevent Johnson from publicly commenting on opposing players or pending free agents.

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