LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Apparently Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson and team executive VP Jim Buss still don’t like each other very much.
In the wake of two lost Lakers season that saw the once-perennial championship contenders net a record of 48-116 amid a slew of injuries to Kobe Bryant and other key players, there’s been no shortage of criticism over Buss’ handling of the team.
The backlash may have hit a crescendo in 2012 after Johnson voiced his concerns over the hiring of Mike D’Antoni, when he told ESPN in an interview, “I love Dr. (Jerry) Buss. I don’t believe in Jim Buss.”
Buss responded to Johnson’s comments for the first time publicly in an interview this week with USA Today, suggesting Johnson – who sold his stake in the Lakers in 2010 and led the ownership group that paid $2 billion for the Dodgers two years later – owed much of his success to the team’s former owner.
“Magic Johnson going nuts on me?” Buss told USA TODAY. “It’s like, ‘Really, dude? My dad made you a billionaire almost. Really? Where are you coming from?'”
After earning five championship rings and three Most Valuable Player awards during his Hall of Fame career in the NBA, Johnson earned roughly $43 million during his on-court career and entered the private sector, where his personal fortune ballooned to an estimated $525 million, according to Forbes.
In response to Buss’ comment, Johnson gave USA TODAY the following statement: “It’s all about winning, Jim.”
The Lakers kick off the 2015-16 season on Oct. 28.