Magic Johnson won five championships during his playing days with the Lakers and established himself as one of the greatest basketball players ever.
It’s been 21 years since he hung up his sneakers, and now Magic is back with the club, on a mission to rescue the Lakers from NBA irrelevance.
They could certainly use some help. Nearly four full seasons into a rebuilding project, the losses keep piling up. It’s by far the worst stretch in the history of the franchise.
Johnson, who’s gone on to a successful business career, has been rehired by the Lakers to help find a path out of the doldrums. His job description is vague. The Lakers say Magic will “help ownership determine the best path for growth and success.”
That won’t be easy. The natives are clearly restless after this run of futility. And Magic’s return reportedly comes amid growing tensions between the eldest son and daughter of late team owner Jerry Buss.
ESPN Senior Writer Ramona Shelburne says it’s not exactly clear what Magic’s role with the team will be:
“When (former Lakers owner) Jerry Buss passed away in 2013, he decided that daughter Jeannie would be in charge of business operation for the Lakers and his son, Jim, would be in charge of basketball operations. Left brain and right brain. And ultimately you need somebody, when the words come out of the brain’s mouth, it’s that person’s words. Jerry Buss decided that that person would be Jeannie Buss, his daughter,” Shelburne says. “When Doctro Buss was alive he was the connective tissue, he was the guy who had the final say. I think Jeannie Buss has hired Magic Johnson to be that connective tissue, to make sure that the basketball and business sides of the Lakers talk to each other.”