Former Los Angeles Lakers president and current Twitter user Magic Johnson joined ESPN’s First Take this morning to talk about his embarrassing exit from the team, the sorry state of the franchise headed into a critical summer, and the confusing power structure within the organization. Johnson doesn’t believe he did anything wrong in his disastrous run in management, and he blames GM Rob Pelinka for everything going sour.
Johnson held forth for an hour or so, but we’ve compiled a short highlight reel of his best moments, which include him accusing Pelinka of stabbing him in the back, claiming he quit because he wasn’t having any fun anymore, and realizing that he didn’t have the power he was promised when he was undercut after deciding to fire head coach Luke Walton. Magic seemed genuinely hurt that Pelinka said mean things about him to other people, despite his repeated claims that he doesn’t let gossip bother him.
“People around the Laker office was telling me Rob was saying things,” the ex-team president said. “And I didn’t like those things being said behind my back.”
Johnson said he only planned to be in the job for three years, with plans to groom Pelinka for the role. “I was going to help elevate him to the president’s position. When all this was coming back to me, guys calling me, telling me, ‘You better watch out for him.’ What was crazy was when I took the job, do you know how many agents called me and said, ‘You gotta watch out for him’?”
A wiser man than Johnson would’ve figured out sooner that he was a face and nothing more, but Johnson he still doesn’t realize that. Later in the show, Johnson outlined his master plan that the coward Rob Pelinka held him back from executing: Sign a big free agent, then sign a shooter. Insightful!