Magic Johnson is arguably the greatest player in Los Angeles Lakers franchise history. He won five championships, three Finals MVPs and three regular-season MVPs and is first in Lakers history in assists, assists per game, triple-doubles and offensive rating.
Johnson used to be the Lakers’ president of basketball operations. He helped the franchise sign superstar small forward LeBron James in the summer of 2018. However, the Hall of Famer stepped down in 2019 after accusing Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka of “backstabbing.”
Even though Johnson doesn’t work for the Lakers anymore, he still keeps in touch with owner Jeanie Buss. In fact, Johnson and Buss sat down in early December when the current purple and gold were playing putrid basketball and Magic delivered a calming message to Buss.
However, a month after Johnson and Buss met, the former watched his old team get destroyed by the Denver Nuggets by 36 points and couldn’t hold back his true thoughts anymore. The 12-time All-Star tweeted, “After being blown out by the Nuggets 133-96, we as Lakers fans can accept being outplayed but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency. Owner Jeanie Buss, you deserve better.”
In a recent interview with Bill Oram of The Athletic, Johnson spoke about the meaning behind his tweet and why he’ll always help Buss despite no longer working for her.
Johnson Reveals Why He Took to Twitter
Johnson told Oram it was “unacceptable” how the Lakers played against the Nuggets and that the team gave zero maximum effort.
“I’m a Laker,” Johnson said. “I love the Lakers. I want to be just around here helping. I sent that tweet out for a reason. It’s a different standard when you put on the purple and gold, and so those guys have to understand that, you know, not taking a shot at anybody. But that’s unacceptable as a Laker, to not give maximum effort. The main thing is always about winning. I didn’t care about anything else.”
The 2021-22 Lakers are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings. LeBron is averaging 29.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists in his 19th season, but the LakeShow are 20th in the NBA in net rating and Russell Westbrook leads the league in turnovers.
It’s unknown if LeBron and Co. will turn things around in the second half of the season. However, what is clear is that Buss still sees Johnson as someone she can talk to.
Buss on Johnson: ‘To Me, He’s Still Working with Us’
Buss will never hesitate to call Johnson for advice. Their relationship goes way beyond basketball and the former appreciates everything the latter has done for her and her family.
“To me, he’s still working with us,” Buss said. “In terms of an official capacity, in the NBA, you have to be very clear as to who can negotiate on your behalf and who can’t. So he doesn’t have that official designation. But in terms of his support, his wisdom, his insight, I freely call on him as needed.”
Buss is certainly lucky she can pick the brain of one of the best players in NBA history whenever she wants. It will be interesting to see what changes the Lakers make in the offseason if the 2021-22 roster continues to play below-average basketball.