Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers have cut their official ties.
The name of the team’s Hall of Famer has been removed from the staff directory, which previously had listed him as having the honorary title of vice president. Johnson frequently has been critical of his former team and Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times writes that the team “appeared to want to create distance from his wide-ranging opinions to eliminate conflict-of-interest issues, among other things.”
“Earvin will always be a revered and beloved member of the Lakers family, but he does not have a position or role with the organization at the time,” Lakers spokesman John Black said in a statement. “He is not an adviser or a consultant, and his opinions, comments and social media posts are solely his, and do not represent or reflect those of Lakers ownership or management. Hopefully this will eliminate any confusion over this issue in the future.”
Johnson, who sold his ownership stake in the Lakers in 2010 but remains one of the most visible faces of the franchise, has been especially critical of Jim Buss, a Lakers owner and the executive who runs the basketball side of the organization. Johnson has been especially critical of what he says is Buss’s reluctance to delegate authority to General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
“[He’s] trying to do it himself, trying to prove to everybody that this was the right decision, that ‘my dad gave me the reins,’ and he’s not consulting anybody,” Johnson said on ESPN’s “First Take” in February.
“His father was smart enough to understand that, you know? ‘I can own the team, but I don’t have the basketball expertise to make those decisions, so let me bring in Jerry West [who stepped down as GM in 2000].’ “