LeBron: Johnson quit team in ‘weird’ manner
Two days after Magic Johnson stepped down as the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations, LeBron James spoke about the way Johnson chose to resign like it was a betrayal.
“I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization, having a conversation with Magic and really kind of breaking it down and saying how we was gonna make this Showtime again, and I wanted to be part of that process,” James said during an episode of his HBO show “The Shop,” which aired Saturday but was taped April 11 in the aftermath of Johnson’s decision.
“He explained to me Year One is going to be tough. … But I was OK with the process. At Year 16 you ain’t really supposed to be worrying about no damn process, especially for me because I’m in championship mode all the time,” James added.
“So it was just weird for him to just be like ‘I’m out of here' and not even have no like, ‘Hey Bron, kiss my butt. I’m out of here.’ I would’ve been OK with that. ‘Hey Bron, it’s Magic. Kiss my ass. I’m gone.’ Not even that.”
James’ agent Rich Paul did not respond to messages asking if the two have since spoken.
James and Paul met with Johnson and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on the Saturday before that franchisealtering news conference for what was essentially James’ exit interview. They talked about the team’s and James’ goals for the offseason, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting. There was no indication that Johnson was on his way out.
Then, about 90 minutes before the season finale, Johnson told reporters he was stepping down because the job wasn’t making him happy, he didn’t want to have to ask owner Jeanie Buss to fire Luke Walton as coach, and he was tired of being accused of tampering with other teams’ players so frequently.