NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson has cut all official ties with the Los Angeles Lakers, and the move apparently was connected to Johnson’s public endorsement of free agents.
According to team officials, 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, according to John Black, the Lakers vice president of public relations. Under NBA rules, executives are not allowed to comment on potential free agents.
“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,” Black said.
“He is not an adviser 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.”
On May 2, Johnson tweeted that “the first free agent the Lakers should go after is Kevin Durant,” referring to the Oklahoma City Thunder forward.
“I would love to see Kevin Durant in the Purple & Gold!” Johnson tweeted, in a reference to the Lakers’ colors.
Later that same day, Johnson tweeted, “The Lakers should call LeBron James agent. We know he’s going to stay in CLE, but they should go after him just in case he leaves,” referring to the Cleveland Cavaliers forward.
Johnson sold his ownership stake in the Lakers in 2010 to Patrick Soon-Shiong, now the chairman and CEO of the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Advanced Health, in what he called “a bittersweet business decision.”
Johnson is part of the ownership groups of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and the Los Angeles Football Club, which is set to begin play in Major League Soccer in 2018.
— City News Service
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