By now everyone and their uncle have seen the video of former Los Angeles Lakers President Magic Johnson out of nowhere resigning his position on ESPN right before game time. After the shock of the move wore off that should have been the end of it, but a last week Johnson appeared on ESPN’s morning show “Get Up” and gave a bit more insight into what led to his abrupt move.
But why now?
Johnson decided that he was tired of dealing with the nonsense that was running a team and wanted to get back to enjoying the game of basketball (at least that’s how I saw the resignation) so why not just let the shock wear off and move on? What’s the point in bringing up all the drama that went on and open yourself up to the same criticism?
That criticism came earlier this morning when Baxter Holmes posted an article on ESPN.com detailing the failed attempt of the Lakers rebuild with Magic Johnson that the helm.
Johnson allegedly started off his time with the Lakers telling basketball operations staff members that he doesn’t accept mistakes or excuses that anyone that wasn’t on board would find themselves replaced, even pointing at his office where there was a stack of resumes waiting for Johnson. How he could ever believe that using that kind of tactic to motivate people is beyond me because that’s putting unnecessary pressure on the staff when they’re already trying to defy all the odds stacked against the struggling team.
Johnson just wanted to make sure his staff knew that he was the holding all the cards and was the all powerful manager of the team. Which hello never works, leaders who bully and intimate their team rarely go far, makes me like LeBron calling him out on his show “The Shop” even better.
The best part of this whole thing is when Johnson pulled the ultimate petty card by throwing shade at Rob Pelinka making him look like he was starting drama. It’s the ultimate deflection card because why bother taking responsibility for your mistakes when you can pass blame on someone else?
There also the whole mess that was dangling the young stars on the team to lure Anthony Davis to the team. Trades are common in professional sports but those guys won’t want to then play for the team that hard when they know they’re just going to be pawns to land a bigger star. (On the flip side they might want to get out of the Lakers organization and go play somewhere they have a chance to win sooner).
But the Magic Johnson debacle is just one part of the dumpster fire, the kindling we’ll call it. There’s also the mess of firing Luke Walton and then failing to land the either of the top two candidates before giving the job to Frank Vogel. From the article it seems like hiring Tyronn Lue almost happened but the talks broke down towards the end.
The pièce de résistance for me is that when the team landed LeBron James Johnson and Pelinka consulted no one in the organization and brought in veterans guards Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson, center JaVale McGee and forward Michael Beasley. How can you be in charge of the team and not go to the people who know their stuff before making deals. Some of the people in the organization actually learned of the deals through the media which is just mind boggling. Keeping secrets from those in the organization only fuels the fire of failure.
Ultimately the fans and the Lakers players deserve better. The players are busting their tails every night on the court to restore the team to its former glory and yet they’re playing for an organization that doesn’t value them. The same goes for the fans, without fans shelling out money to buy tickets and gear there is no team.
The Lakers organization needs to get their acts together because the greats like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlin, and James Worthy didn’t play their hardest to bring glory to the organization just to have it all burned away because of guys like Johnson and Pelinka who didn’t have the experience and had little ideas on how to be effective leaders that could rebuild the team to their former glory.
Hopefully this new chapter for the Lakers will be more successful and less dramatic than the last.