When Magic Johnson stepped down from his position as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, it came as a surprise to everyone, including the team’s lone superstar LeBron James.
For the first time since Johnson’s shocking resignation, James broke his silence on the situation during an episode of his HBO talk show “The Shop” on Saturday:
“Between my stretching sessions, my right hand comes up to me and say, ‘Magic just stepped down.’ And I’m like, ‘Man, get the f--- out of my face, you’re bulls----ng me.’ I check my phone, I look at it, the s--t happened. Personally, for me, I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization after having a conversation with Magic, so it was just weird for him to just be like ‘Nah, I’m out of here,’ and not even have, like: ‘Hey, Bron . . . kiss my a--. I’m out of here.’ It wasn’t even that.”
James was especially turned off by the timing of Johnson’s resignation, which took place before the Lakers’ regular season finale against the Portland Trail Blazers (transcription via Ben Golliver of The Washington Post):
“We were like, ‘Damn, right now?’ It was literally 70 minutes on the clock before [tip-off],” James said. “[The team] is getting ready for a game. And you decide to do that right here, right now? I feel like there’s a time and place for things, and I believe that you knew you were going to make that decision. So why would you do it here? And why would you do it now?”
However, in spite of how he might have felt at the time, James said he’s committed to what the Lakers are building, even if Johnson won’t be part of it going forward:
“I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization [after] having a conversation with Magic,” James continued. “[He was] really kind of breaking it down and saying how we were going to make this ‘Showtime’ again. I wanted to be a part of that process.
“We all knew that it was going to be kind of tough,” James said. “But I was okay with the process. At year 16, you aren’t really supposed to be worried about no d--- process. Especially for me, because I’m in championship mode all the time.”
Considering the nature in which Johnson stepped down, James had every right to be upset at the time and one could argue that it would be justifiable if he still had some ill-feelings towards the organization. Luckily, it doesn’t seem like that’s the case and unless things get drastically worse from here on out, James will probably play out his contract with the Lakers.
If James, who will turn 34 years old in December, is willing to stay patient with the Lakers, one would help the team makes it worth his while. That process will start this summer, without or without Johnson.