NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson is taking on a new role with the Los Angeles Lakers as an adviser to the team’s president and co-owner, Jeanie Buss.
Johnson, who described Buss as “so intelligent, so smart,” said they were having their annual dinner to discuss the status of the Lakers when he expressed that he didn’t think the team was headed in a good direction.
“So I said, ‘Well, what are you going to do?’” Johnson recalled Monday on “CBS This Morning.” “She said, ‘I’m going to make some changes.’ I said, ‘Oh, OK. Whatcha gonna to do? Who are you going to bring in?’ She said, ‘You!’”
The 12-time All Star and three-time MVP guided the Lakers to five NBA titles during his Hall of Fame career. Johnson, CEO of investment company Magic Johnson Enterprises, said he’s previously had four offers to run other teams, including the New York Knicks, but he turned them down.
“I thought long and hard about it, but the only team franchise I would ever go to is the Lakers,” Johnson said.
“At this point in my life, you know, I think that I can do it right now because my businesses are running smooth. I can turn them over to my executive team that I have,” he added.
Johnson said he knows it will take some time for the Lakers, who haven’t made it to playoffs since 2013, to rebound.
“It’s going to take three to five years to get them back rolling again, but if we’re patient, if we develop our own players — because now in today’s NBA, it’s different [from] when I played,” he said. “You have to really develop your own players because free agent movement is not like it used to be. And so you have to really make sure you hit a home run when you do draft and then try to keep the players that you have on your roster.”
Johnson, who will be involved in both business and recruitment efforts for the Lakers, also said he patterned his own business after Oprah’s.
“I always wanted to be the male Oprah,” Johnson said.