Lakers news: Magic Johnson wanted to congratulate, talk about other players as he wished
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Now ex-Lakers president Magic Johnson wanted to congratulate, talk about other players as he wished

Magic Johnson, Russell Westbrook, Lakers

Magic Johnson reportedly stepped down as Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations Tuesday night.

The reason, in part, was because he felt restrained.

When Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook posted an astounding 20-20-20 performance in commemoration of rapper Nipsey Hussle, Magic couldn’t hang around to pay respect in the manner he wanted.

Evidently, he “couldn’t be himself” to other players around the league — as has been the case all year. Because of that, he decided to move on without mentioning it “face-to-face” to Jeanie Buss.

Magic Johnson, 59, also noted that his lack of freedom associating with and mentoring other athletes — due to his obligations with the Lakers — put him in a foreign place.

Magic brought up that he felt somewhat hurt by the initial negative reactions earlier in the season when Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons made a call to schedule a chat with him.

“He reached out to me, not to me directly, to the Lakers, to find out if we can get together this summer,” said Johnson, per EJ Smith of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I said, ‘Hey, you’d have to clear it with the league. Everybody. The Sixers sign off. We sign off. The league sign off that nothing is going on.”

Both NBA officials and Sixers GM Elton Brand both quickly put the kibosh on the meeting due to the clandestine feels of a team executive meeting with another team’s player.

Now that he’s released himself from the Lakers’ front office shackles, it appears that Johnson will get his chance to take on other roles he desires.