Jerry West: Magic Johnson looked like ‘a happy camper’ leaving Lakers
Magic Johnson abruptly resigned as Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operation last week, and one of the franchise’s icons has observed his fellow Lakers legend looked quite pleased with the decision.
West, currently serving as a consultant with the Los Angeles Clippers, recently discussed Johnson’s sudden and stunning resignation with The Athletic’s Sam Amick. Suffice to say, West believes Johnson has no regrets over his departure.
“My life has been the Lakers,” West told Amick. “It’s an iconic brand, but there are things that happen – things that happen where everyone is trying to look for a reason that they happened. And if someone wants to walk away – and Earvin did it – there had to be reasons. But he did it. And honestly, he looked like he was a happy camper. He got the pressure off of him. I have no idea what he’s going to do with his life. Well, I know what he’s going to do with his life, he’s going to pursue his other interests, which are time-consuming. But he might have a greater interest in those than he does the day-to-day stuff in basketball, the criticism that’s involved. That’s not fun to see, particularly for someone like him. I wish him the best. I really do. And I’m just hopeful that we can beat them more than they beat us.”
West’s take on the situation aligns with what Johnson himself expressed when announcing his resignation when he stated: “I want to go back to having fun. I want to go back to being who I was before taking on this job.”
The Lakers organization will now have to embark upon a critical offseason, and the case can be made Johnson left Lakers co-owner and CEO Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka holding the bag, as it were, following a profoundly disappointing season.
From the sound of things, though, Johnson’s heart simply was not into serving the Lakers in any official capacity. The case can be made if that was indeed the case, the organization is better off without him.