Magic Johnson's run as President of Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Lakers has come to an end, stepping down from his position today.
Magic Johnson has stepped down from President of Basketball Ops of the Lakers.- Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 10, 2019
Johnson called an impromptu press conference ahead of the Lakers' final game of the regular season against the Portland Trail Blazers, announcing his decision.
"I think that with [Lakers owner Jeanie Buss] and I, I want to always preserve our relationship with her," Johnson said in a press conference, per The Athletic's Bill Oram. "And I think I had more fun when I was able to the be big brother and ambassador."
MORE: What's next for the Lakers?
According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, nobody - including Buss - saw Johnson's announcement coming, with the five-time champion telling reporters he wants to return to his role as an ambassador of the NBA - "I was happier when I wasn't the president," he said.
"I'm good with where I am," a relieved Johnson added. "I'm happy. I want to do the things I used to do. I had to weigh both situations and this is better for me."
Johnson took on the position in February 2017, working alongside General Manager Rob Pelinka. While the Lakers were able to land the signature of LeBron James in free agency the following summer, the 2018-19 season fell flat as the Lakers missed the playoffs for the sixth-straight year.
The Lakers released the following statement in response to Johnson's announcement:
There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson. We are deeply grateful to Magic for all that he has done for our franchise - as a player, an ambassador and an executive.
We thank him for his work these past two years as our President of Basketball Operations and wish him, Cookie, Andre, EJ and Elisa all the best with their next steps. He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family.
As we begin the process of moving forward, we will work in a measured and methodical fashion to make the right moves for the future of our organization.