DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It was the pregame announcement no one was expecting before the Los Angeles Lakers took the Staples Center court against the Portland Trail Blazers in the final game of a disappointing season in which they missed the playoffs again despite adding LeBron James.
Lots of fans associate Magic Johnson with all things Lakers, so news of his resignation as president of basketball operations left them reeling.
Uncertainty is setting in, especially as reports spread that Johnson shared his resignation with the media before management.
Some fans noted a lack of communication is never good on or off the court.
“A little disconcerting in that he would step away. It just seems unlike him. So I don’t know what that’s an indicator of or not,” said Lakers fan Jeff Morrow.
“I don’t know what it means for the team,” said Lakers fan Sonali Patel. “This was supposed to be our big savior year, right?”
Still, others are choosing to be optimistic.
“Magic Johnson is great, but maybe somebody new will give great ideas and go on from there,” said Lakers fan Sheila Patel.
Johnson has faced scrutiny as the president of basketball operations. The team was 78-108 during his tenure. Some questioned bringing on highly-touted and highly-parented recruit Lonzo Ball. Even getting LeBron James was not unanimously supported, especially after the team failed to make it to the playoffs.
But before, during and after all of it, number 32 is and will remain number one in LA.
“Hey, good for him. He’s earned the right to do whatever he wants with his life. He’s been an awesome Laker and it could not have been a fun job the way the media’s been treating him this year,” said Lakers fan Ernest Wolfe.
“I don’t like that he’s quitting, you know. He’s been a Laker for a very long time so I hope he’s, wow, its a shock,” said Lakers fan Leon Avalos.
“I’m sorry that you’re leaving. I don’t know why. I won’t criticize you for it. Mad respect. You’re a legend,” said Lakers fan Jaffrey Stillman.
Owner Jeanie Buss was not at the game but she tweeted while the game was going on, saying “Earvin, I loved working side by side with you, You’ve brought us a long way. We will continue the journey. We love you.”