Magic Johnson appeared on ESPN’s First Take on Monday morning, covering many topics about his time as President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers. One of those topics was Magic’s relationship with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. The comments regarding Buss probably didn’t make her too happy, especially his comments regarding her resistance to his intention of firing head coach Luke Walton.
Ramona Shelburne has come out with a new piece for ESPN, detailing how Jeanie Buss was “blindsided” by his comments throughout the appearance on First Take. Shelburne expanded more about how and why Buss was so surprised by Magic’s words, saying this:
Buss had questioned Johnson several times in the wake of his public resignation, asking him if there were any issues with Pelinka or anyone else in the organization. They spoke on the phone for hours. They went to a private dinner at Wally’s in Beverly Hills on May 2. Multiple Lakers sources told ESPN that each time, Johnson said nothing beyond what he’d said on April 9 — that he didn’t feel like he could be Magic in this role and wanted his freedom back.
— Jeanie Buss (@JeanieBuss) May 3, 2019
The May 2nd dinner was (in typical Lakers fashion) documented on Twitter from Jeanie Buss herself. The dinner where Magic reportedly failed to voice his displeasures to Buss’ face came only a week after he tweeted this cryptic message:
The truth will always come to light 😊
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 25, 2019
Apparently, the truth couldn’t come to light during that dinner or any phone calls between the two and instead came out during Magic’s First Take appearance. That’s definitely unprofessional and just plain disrespectful of Magic, if true. However, Jeanie Buss isn’t handling all of this too well either.
She has yet to appear in public and address everything that has gone on with the Lakers since Magic Johnson’s resignation, which includes the reports of a “shadow president”, the botched hiring of Tyronn Lue, and the resulting hiring of Frank Vogel. Ramona Shelburne discussed how this whole situation makes Jeanie Buss look just as bad as Magic, saying:
She was always willing to take questions, even harsh ones. But she has been out of sight as of late, seemingly resigned to taking all the criticism coming her way.
On Monday, with the introduction of Los Angeles’ fourth coach in six years, there was no owner in sight, no hammer in striking distance.
What Jeanie Buss needs to figure out is why she continues to leave herself and the franchise in such a poor position.
With the reports that the Lakers won’t be hiring a new President of Basketball Operations and Frank Vogel’s introduction done and out of the way, we may not get Jeanie Buss in front of a microphone any time soon. It would behoove her though to do so, as her reputation continues to decline amidst all these events.