Capping a disappointing season, NBA icon ‘Magic’ Johnson resigned Tuesday as the Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations.
“It’s a difficult decision. I cried before I came here,” Johnson said as he choked back tears while making the announcement in front of the Lakers’ locker room before the team’s regular-season finale against Portland. “I am about to cry now. It’s hard when you love an organization the way I love this organization. It’s hard when you love a person like I love Jeanie [Buss]. I don’t want to disappoint her.
“We love (coach) Luke [Walton], so I got to make a decision and that’s a tough thing. I’m good with where I am. I’m happy. I want to do the things I used to do, so I had to weigh both situations so this is better for me.”
Johnson said he had not informed Buss, the Lakers’ controlling owner and governor, or general manager Rob Pelinka of the decision before talking to reporters. He later told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he didn’t tell Buss first because he was afraid she would talk him out of it.
Buss tweeted about Johnson and his decision late Tuesday.
“Earvin, I loved working side by side with you. You’ve brought us a long way. We will continue the journey. We love you”.
The Lakers thanked Johnson in a statement, saying in part, “There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson. … He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family.”
The Lakers were 37-44 entering Tuesday. They were 35-47 last season and have not made the playoffs since 2013.