Lakers remove honorary vice president title from Magic Johnson
Lakers legend's tweets force organizational move
Magic Johnson is free to tweet whatever painfully obvious thing he wants now.
Johnson for years has taken to Twitter to share his opinions, quite often with exclamation marks, about the league and the Lakers. He buried Mike D'Antoni, which got really awkward when "Lakers family" member Byron Scott was somehow worse at coaching defense than D'Antoni (and yet Johnson said nothing about it) and would openly criticize team owner and President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss (with whom he has a frosty relationship after being very close with his father).
Perhaps the most Magic tweet of all involved Johnson openly telling the Lakers to pursue Kevin Durant, and for good measure, LeBron James:
Laker Nation: The first free agent the Lakers should go after is Kevin Durant.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 2, 2016
Laker Nation: The Lakers should call LeBron James agent. We know he's going stay in CLE but they should go after him just in case he leaves.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 2, 2016
Here's the tricky part: Johnson was still an official member of the Lakers, listed as an honorary Vice President. He was even included in the team directory. That is, until Saturday night, when the Lakers released the following statement:
EL SEGUNDO -The Los Angeles Lakers have announced today that Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson has asked the team to eliminate his honorary title of Vice President, and to remove his name from the team staff directory in publications and other sources.
The change is being made in hopes of clarifying any confusion over Johnson's involvement with or representation of the team.
"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 this time," said team spokesman John Black. "He is not an advisor 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."
So basically, the Lakers took away Johnson's honorary title because he wouldn't stop tweeting things that seemed like tampering with free agents. The move does show a formal separation between Johnson and the team. Johnson was incredibly close with late owner Jerry Buss, partying with him during his playing days in the 80's. But things have been frosty since Jim Buss took over, starting with the way he handled the removal of Phil Jackson in 2011.
This could be a small move designed solely to quell concern from owners and league office executives. However, it could also signal a bigger shift towards a real divide between the Lakers and one of their most iconic figures and a Los Angeles legend.
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