Magic Johnson shocked the basketball world when he abruptly left his post as the president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the season. There have been plenty of rumors as to why this happened but now, we have an answer. Johnson appeared on ESPN’s First Take today where he revealed that general manager Rob Pelinka had betrayed him and that it was simply time to leave.
Per Magic (H/T Bleacher Report):
“Things got going in the right direction, and then I start hearing, you know, ‘Magic, you’re not working hard enough. Magic’s not in the office.’ So people around the Lakers office was telling me Rob was saying things, Rob Pelinka. And I didn’t like those things being said behind my back, that I wasn’t in office enough and so on and on. So I start getting calls from my friends outside of basketball saying those things now were said to them outside of basketball. Now not just in the Lakers office anymore, now it’s in the media and so on. … And people gotta remember something, being in this business for over 40 years, I got allies, I got friends everywhere.”
“If you’re going to talk betrayal, it’s only with Rob. But, again, I had to look inside myself. I had been doing that for months. Because I didn’t like that Tim Harris was too involved in basketball. He’s supposed to run the Laker business, but he was trying to come over to our side. Jeanie’s gotta stop that. You gotta stop people from having those voices.”
During a press conference to introduce head coach Frank Vogel, Pelinka was asked about Magic’s comments. Pelinka explained that he was extremely disappointed by what he heard and that none of it was actually true.
“These things are surprising to hear and disheartening,” Pelinka said. “They’re just simply not true. I stand beside him. I stand with him as a colleague and a partner. I’ve always supported everything he’s done and will continue to.”
If there’s one thing for sure here, it’s that being a Lakers fan is really tough right now.