Last month, Magic Johnson shocked the NBA when he stepped down as President of the Los Angeles Lakers, where it was soon revealed that his reasoning was over criticism from other executives in the Lakers’ organization.
Now several weeks later, the NBA legend appeared on First Take to elaborate on those earlier reports, where he didn’t mince words when he singled out General Manager Rob Pelinka as the “backstabber” who “betrayed” him.
“I start hearing, ‘Magic, you are not working hard enough. Magic’s not in the office,'” Johnson told First Take, “People around the Lakers office were telling me Rob was saying things, and I didn’t like those things being said behind my back, that I wasn’t in the office enough.” From there, he clarified previous comments he made during his resignation, adding that “If you are going to talk betrayal, it’s only with Rob.”
With that said, Johnson also shared some frustration he had with owner Jeanie Buss, noting her refusal to allow him to fire head coach Luke Walton as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“I showed [Jeanie Buss] the things he did well and the things he didn’t do well. I said listen, we got to get a better coach.” From there, Johnson said that Buss seemingly gave him the runaround while having him answer to other executives, leaving him to believe that “it was time to go.”
Meanwhile, Pelinka answered several questions about Johnson’s statement during his press conference with Lakers new head coach Frank Vogel, where he described his former boss as an “unbelievable person to work with” while adding that he’s surprised and disheartened over the recent allegations.