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- Magic Johnson resigned as president of the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
- Johnson held an impromptu press conference to announce the decision and revealed he had not yet told Lakers owner Jeannie Buss.
- According to reports, Johnson had met with Buss and LeBron James in recent days and did not signal he planned to resign.
- The Lakers coaching staff also reportedly believed for months that they would be fired by Johnson after the final game of the season, and they ended up outlasting Johnson.
Magic Johnson resigned as Los Angeles Lakers president on Tuesday in a shocking move.
Johnson made the announcement during an impromptu press conference on Tuesday. As he made the announcement, he revealed he had not yet told Lakers owner Jeannie Buss, saying he couldn’t bear to face her.
In the aftermath of Johnson’s announcement, it’s becoming clear that nobody had any idea that Johnson was going to step down.
According to Yahoo’s Chris Mannix, Johnson met with Buss on Monday for nearly three hours and did not reveal he planned on leaving.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Johnson also met with LeBron James and his agent Rich Paul over the weekend and, similarly, did not signal his plans.
Furthermore, according to Wojnarowski, the Lakers coaching staff had all expected they would be fired after Tuesday’s game, their final game of the season. Wojnarowski reported that Johnson even intended to fire head coach Luke Walton but ended up resigning first.
Johnson mingled around media and Staples Center staffers for nearly two hours after his press conference. According to reports, Johnson said he hadn’t yet contacted Buss. He said he planned to see her either Tuesday night or on Wednesday but would recall her regardless. Johnson ultimately didn’t seem entirely concerned, and said when he meets with Buss face to face, she would understand stepping down is the right move for him.
Johnson explained on Tuesday that he was happier before he took the job as Lakers president. Among other things, Johnson wanted to be a mentor and figure in the basketball world, which he couldn’t do as president. He pointed to not being able to work out with the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, at Simmons’ request, saying he looked like the "bad guy."
Johnson said he always wanted to be a business man after his career was over. He told reporters he was doing fine in that field before taking the Lakers job.
Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that Johnson struggled to commit to the rigorous schedule that being a team president demands, rarely traveling to scout and holding limited office hours.
Adding to the strangeness of the night, Johnson left the Staples Center before the Lakers’ final game tipped off against the Portland Trail Blazers. Players and coaches will be left to answer questions about Johnson’s resignation as their season comes to an end.
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