Los Angeles Lakers legend, Magic Johnson has stepped down from his position as the team’s president of basketball operations.
Johnson, who played a key role in bringing LeBron James to the team last year, broke the news before the 104-101 defeat by the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I had more fun when I was able to be the big brother and the ambassador to everybody,” the 59-year-old said at an impromptu news conference on Tuesday.
The Lakers have failed to qualify for the play-offs for a sixth successive season. Johnson revealed he had not warned president Jeanie Buss of his decision to bring his two-year reign to an end.
“She doesn’t know I’m standing here because I know I would be crying like a baby in front of her, even though I’m about to cry now,” added Johnson. “But it’s the right thing to do, the right move to make.”
Johnson, who said he had grown tired of “the back-stabbing and the whispering” this season, also suggested he did not want to have to make a decision over the future of coach Luke Walton.
“Tomorrow I would have to affect someone’s livelihood and their life,” he said, without referring to Walton directly. “I want to go back to having fun. I want to go back to who I was before taking on this job.”
The Lakers paid tribute to Johnson, a Hall of Famer during his playing days with the team, in a brief statement.
“There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson,” the statement said. “We are deeply grateful to Magic for all that he has done for our franchise, as a player, an ambassador and an executive.”
By Olukayode Oniwinde