Magic Johnson firmly stands by picking Lonzo Ball No. 2 in 2017
Hall of Famer Magic Johnson was not shy to humble-brag about his decision to draft Lonzo Ball in 2017, a move that eventually defined his short-lived tenure as a front office executive with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Magic went on ESPN’s First Take, insisting the Pelicans will be an exciting team, mentioning his former Lakers players in Ball and Brandon Ingram, while ignoring the 6-foot-7 elephant in the screen.
“The Pelicans will be one of the most entertaining teams in all of basketball, because now you put Jrue Holiday with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram — I mean those guys are gonna be running and gunning and they got a good coach,” said Johnson, who was shortly after challenged by Stephen A. Smith in a fun back-and-forth:
Smith: “You sure that’s not emotion there because you drafted Lonzo Ball? You drafted Lonzo Ball, Magic Johnson.”
Johnson: “Yes, I did. And I’m standing right here too. I’m standing right here, I’m not moving. I did that. Watch out now, don’t forget, we might be in this suits, but something can go down now.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) September 20, 2019
While the Pels will be fun to watch this season, it won’t be because of Holiday, Ball, or Ingram, but due to Zion Williamson — an undisputed No. 1 pick and the future of the franchise.
More than two years have passed since Johnson spearheaded a move to send D’Angelo Russell from the Lakers to the Brooklyn Nets to move Timofey Mozgov’s contract and make way for Ball, a move that simply didn’t pan out during his tenure as president of basketball operations.