Mark J. Terrill/AP
Magic Johnson isn’t having fun anymore.
“Today, I’m going to step down as president,” the former NBA superstar told a gaggle of reporters on Tuesday night, about an hour and a half before the Los Angeles Lakers played their last game of the season. “I was happier when I wasn’t the president.”
Johnson has served as the team’s president of basketball operations for more than two years — the latest move in a long and successful career as a businessman and philanthropist after he first retired in 1991 when he tested positive for HIV. He came back to be part of the U.S. Olympic “Dream Team” in 1992 and then again to play for the Lakers in the 1995-96 season.
His resignation came out of the blue; on Monday, Johnson had a three-hour meeting about the team’s future after its sixth consecutive losing season, the Associated Press reported.
Reporters and basketball fans weren’t the only ones to find out about his resignation late in the game.
“Somebody’s gonna have to tell my boss,” Johnson told reporters.
His boss is Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss, who hired Johnson just over two years ago after she dismissed her brother Jim, who was vice president of basketball operations, and General Manager Mitch Kupchak in an effort to change things up after multiple losing seasons.
Magic Johnson is conducting an impromptu press conference and just stepped down as Lakers president. He said he loves Jeanie Buss like a sister.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 10, 2019
Johnson said he just couldn’t face Buss, who he called “my sister.”
“Have you really not told Jeanie yet?” a reporter asked.
“No, I haven’t. I couldn’t,” he answered. “She doesn’t know I’m standing here because I knew I would be crying like a baby in front of her.”
The Hall of Famer barely kept it together in front of the press: “I’m about to cry now,” he said.
When his boss inevitably heard the news, the Lakers issued a statement thanking Johnson for his time with the team. “There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson,” the statement said. “He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family.”
Buss also tweeted her thanks:
Earvin, I loved working side by side with you. You’ve brought us a long