Magic Johnson on Tuesday informed reporters that he is stepping down as president of the Los Angeles Lakers in a bizarre and shocking move.
Johnson held an impromptu press conference to tell reporters of his decision. He said he had not informed Lakers owner Jeannie Buss of his decision.
“Somebody’s going to have to tell my boss because I knew I couldn’t be face-to-face and tell her … I couldn’t stand to tell her,” Johnson said, according to The Athletic’s Bill Oram.
Johnson cited his desire to mentor and comment on other players as a reason for his decision. Johnson had twice been fined for tampering, once for reportedly trying to recruit Paul George to the Lakers, and another for commenting on Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“I want to go back to having fun,” Johnson said, adding: “I’m a free bird and I can’t be handcuffed.” He said he was happier before he was president of the Lakers.
Johnson noted an incident where he was not able to work with Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons over fears of tampering after Simmons requested to work out with Johnson. On Tuesday, Johnson said he looked like the “bad guy” in the situation.
Johnson was hired in 2017