You would be hard-pressed to find a more stereotypical TMZ interview than the one the outlet did with Lakers legend Magic Johnson over the weekend. An interview in a random location? Check. Questions that won’t get much of a legitimate answer? Check. A rushed interview because the subject clearly wants to be left alone? Check.
It was truly the holy grail of TMZ interviews, as Magic was found walking down Hollywood Boulevard and asked a myriad of questions, starting with LeBron James’ future with the Lakers and whether he should be traded.
Should they trade LeBron James?
“LeBron I hope will be a Laker for a long time.”
You think so?
“I hope so.”
Magic played a huge role, perhaps the biggest, in bringing LeBron to Los Angeles as it was him that met with LeBron in free agency to make the Lakers’ pitch. James led the Lakers to a title since being recruited by Magic but with 2022-23 being the final year of LeBron’s contract, his future is a bit uncertain. The murmurs of trading LeBron, certainly a more radical approach to the situation, have been largely squashed through reports.
At the same time, the Lakers are obviously searching for a head coach. Officially, Magic has no role with the Lakers, but owner Jeanie Buss has leaned on him as recently as last season for advice on the team. Truly, it is remarkable how strong the nepotism is within the Lakers considering Magic quit as the team’s president of basketball operations without giving anyone any notice after a wholly underwhelming season for the Lakers and is still considered someone worth asking for advice from.
Alas, Magic was asked about the coaching search, but not quite in the way you would think he’d be asked about it.
They got a problem with the coach right now.
“That’s it. That’s it. That’s all.”
Who do you think (it will be)?
“I don’t know.”
Would you coach the Lakers?
“No no no no no no, no no no.”
Apparently, even the Lakers’ nepotism does have its limits as Magic will not be looking to return to the sidelines to improve upon the 5-11 record he amassed during the end of the 1993-94 season. Magic isn’t the only former Laker involved with the front office as they search for a head coach, either, with recent reports indicating Phil Jackson is also advising the team’s brain trust.
Again, Magic was asked about Phil Jackson and, again, it was not in the way you think that he’d be asked about him.
Should they bring Phil Jackson back?
(laughs) “I don’t think Phil is going to coach again, but he’s helping with the look for a coach, so that’s good.”
And he’s the right man to pick a coach?
“Well, he’s going to do it with I’m sure Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka and Kurt Rambis.”
Who do you think should coach the Lakers?
“I don’t know.”
You’d never do it?
“No no no, no coaching for me. But thank you.”
Truly an incredible interview. What other outlets can get Magic to respond with a dozen “no” answers to two separate questions of whether he’d coach the Lakers, all while managing to speed walk to keep up with him?
Really, the whole thing is a marvel.
Magic’s ambiguous role as an advisor to the Lakers perfectly fits the front office which is full of ambiguously powerful people, the Rambii chief among them. Presumably, Magic will have some role, big or small, in helping the team land its new head coach as they began the process in earnest over the last week.
For now, though, the good news is that Magic will simply be a figure in the Lakers front office, and not on the sidelines. No one needs that again. Especially — judging by his answers — not Magic himself.