Ahead of their final game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Lakers team president Magic Johnson called an unscheduled press conference where he shockingly announced he was stepping down from the role.
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.
"I'm a free bird and I've been handcuffed and I don't like that", the 59-year-old said during a press conference on Tuesday.
This certainly was not the season L.A. fans imagined when LeBron James made a decision to sign with the Lakers in the offseason.
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The former was everything Liverpool thought they'd purchased last summer, a mixture of combative tackling in deep-lying positions and slaloming runs past opponents into the final third. "But we've got to be pleased".
The news came as a surprise, including to Jeanie Buss, controlling owner and president of the Lakers, reports CBSLA Sports Director Jim Hill.
And sure enough, the public drama that Johnson's resignation caused won't help the team's free agency plans.
"Tomorrow I would have to affect someone's livelihood and their life", he said, without referring to Walton directly. Johnson said. "I'm going to go back to that attractive life and I'm looking forward to it".
Johnson's sudden decision ends another chapter in the remarkable life of the star point guard from Lansing, Michigan, who won an NCAA championship at Michigan State before claiming five National Basketball Association titles and three league MVP awards during his 12-year playing career as the leader of the Showtime Lakers. I don't like a lot of things that went on that didn't have to go on.
Johnson retired in 1991 after he tested positive for HIV, but later returned briefly to the Lakers as a player and a coach. And that's not fun for me. "I was happier when I wasn't the president". "And I thought about it and I said, 'That's not fun for me". "Trust me. ... It's going to be hard for her to come and hear this right now".