Magic Johnson steps down as Los Angeles Lakers chief

The right move. The right decision. "I can't help young men who want me to help them", he said.

However, the Lakers' revival stalled this season when James was injured, triggering a slump which saw the team fall from playoff contention.

"It's a hard decision".

"I had more fun when I was able to the be big brother and ambassador to everybody", Johnson said. "I don't want to disappoint her".

Asked by ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols whether the prospect of a life outside basketball anxious him, Johnson again suggested leaving the Lakers was the right thing to do.

Johnson said he had already made up his mind to step down from the post, but kept the news to himself until he spoke to reporters Tuesday night. "I want to go back to being who I was before taking on this job. And I'm looking forward to it". "So today, Rachel, I'm free".

Johnson is an National Basketball Association legend in his own right, having played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons.

Magic Johnson stepped down as Lakers president Tuesday night.

But after James strained his groin at Christmas and subsequently sat out for the longest injury absence of his 16-year National Basketball Association career, the Lakers were unable to compile enough midseason wins to stay in playoff contention. He returned in February, but the team never recovered and Luke Walton's job has been in jeopardy ever since.

"What I didn't like is the backstabbing and the whispering", Johnson said.

The 12-time All-Star then added that he could not face the prospect of informing Buss of his decision. "Somebody is going to have to tell my boss". Because tomorrow I would have to affect somebody's livelihood and their life, and I thought about that and said, 'That's not fun for me.

Buss has been a strong proponent of Walton but previously said she planned to let Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka decide his future, according to ESPN.

"There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson", the team said. "He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family".

Magic held an impromptu press conference explaining why he was stepping down from the team, but really didn't provide anything remotely sensical into the actual reasons why, rambling about how he just wanted to get back to his "normal life" and his desire to have fun again.

  • Steve Townsend