Johnson’s announcement came ahead of the Lakers game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Los Angeles Staples Center. The 59-year-old former athlete and entrepreneur admitted that he wasn’t enjoying working on the business side of the team. “I was happier when I wasn’t the president,” Johnson said according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I had more fun when I was able to be the big brother and ambassador to everybody. I thought about Dwayne Wade retiring and I couldn’t even tweet it out,” he explained while revealing that Serena Williams asked him to be her mentor, another role that he was unable to take on because of his job.
Johnson publicly announced his departure before telling his boss, Lakers owner, Jeanie Buss. “Somebody’s going to have to tell my boss because I knew I couldn’t be face-to-face and tell her,” he said.
A visibly emotional Johnson added that he has an “amazing relationship “ with Buss. “She gave me full power to do what I wanted to do. But I think that with her and I, I want to always preserve our relationship.”
BREAKING: Magic Johnson has stepped down as Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations. pic.twitter.com/yrHkguOO02
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 10, 2019
The Laker’s responded with a statement thanking Johnson for his services. “There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson. We are deeply grateful to Magic for all that he has done for our franchise – as a player, an ambassador and an executive,” the statement reads. “We thank him for his work these past two years as our President of Basketball Operations and wish him, [his wife] Cookie, [and his children] Andre, EJ and Elisa all the best with their next steps. He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family.
“As we begin the process of moving forward, we will work in a measured and methodical fashion to make the right moves for the future of our organization.”
Johnson’s announcement comes at the end of a disappointing season for the Lakers, despite welcoming Lebron James to the team.
See below for more on Johnson’s decision to quit the Lakers.
“I’m happy that I came to this decision and can go back to being Magic Johnson.”
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 10, 2019