Magic Johnson stunned the basketball world on Tuesday , abruptly resigning from his management role with the Los Angeles Lakers and plunging the ailing NBA franchise into fresh turmoil .
In a dramatic announcement which came shortly before the Lakers’ final game of the season , an emotional Johnson said he was stepping down after a two – year reign as president of basketball operations with the 16 – time NBA champions .
The 59 – year – old Lakers legend ’ s decision followed a disappointing campaign which saw the once – mighty Los Angeles franchise fail to make the playoffs for a sixth consecutive year .
“Today , I’ m gonna step down as the president , ” Johnson told reporters at an impromptu press conference .
Johnson had been saddled with the task of reviving the Lakers and played a pivotal role in persuading LeBron James to join the team last year in a blockbuster move.
However , the Lakers’ revival stalled this season when James was injured , triggering a slump which saw the team fall from playoff contention.
Johnson also attracted criticism for an unsuccessful pursuit of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis , a move which was widely reported to have destabilized the Lakers locker room.
He told reporters he was stepping down in order to preserve his friendship with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss , describing her as “ like a sister. ”
The former Lakers star also revealed he had been wearied by the responsibilities of his position , saying he had not enjoyed the process of hiring and firing personnel.
“( Jeanie Buss ) and I have such an amazing relationship, ” Johnson said . “She gave me full power to do what I wanted to do , but I think that with her and I, I want to always preserve our relationship.
“ I had more fun when I was able to be the big brother and the ambassador to everybody. I had more fun on the other side than on this side . ”
The Lakers meanwhile paid tribute to Johnson in a brief statement .
“ There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson , ” the team said .
“ We are deeply grateful to Magic for all that he has done for our franchise , as a player , an ambassador and an executive . ”