Magic Johnson’s time with the Los Angeles Lakers is done.
Johnson stepped down as the organization’s president of basketball operations on Tuesday night, he announced at a press conference.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Johnson said his job with the Lakers doesn’t “allow him to be the statesman of the game of basketball,” and that he can’t be himself.
“I was happier when I wasn’t the president (of the Lakers),” Johnson said, via McMenamin.
Johnson said that the rules regarding tampering in the NBA was a big issue for him. One example he gave during his announcement was that he couldn’t congratulate Russell Westbrook when he dropped 20-20-20 last week.
“That was a great feat the other day, and I couldn’t even tweet it out and say, ‘Hey, congratulations man,’” Johnson said, via the Los Angeles Times. “If I had did that, everybody would have been, ‘Oh he’s tampering!” I don’t like that. I like to be free.
“I got a great life. I’m like, ‘Damn I have a great life outside of this. What am I doing? You know, I have a beautiful life. I’m going to go back to that beautiful life. I’m looking forward to it.”
— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) April 10, 2019
Johnson said that he hasn’t yet told his boss, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, of his decision to step down. He met with Buss on Monday and held a three hour meeting with her about the direction of the organization, he said.
“Somebody going to have to tell my boss,” Johnson said. “I know she’s going to be sick, but I knew I couldn’t face her face-to-face, even though I was just with her yesterday.”
Still, Johnson said he hopes to have a solid relationship with Buss moving forward.
“Her and I have such an amazing relationship,” Johnson said, via NBATV. “I think that 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 and love her. I think that I had more fun when I was able to be the big brother and the ambassador to everybody.”
This post will be updated with more information shortly.