Published: Mon, May 20, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Magic Johnson Felt 'Betrayed' by Rob Pelinka

Magic Johnson Felt 'Betrayed' by Rob Pelinka

Magic Johnson accused Rob Pelinka of undermining his authority during their partnership running the Los Angeles Lakers.

In an appearance on First Take on Monday morning, Johnson did not hold back, identifying Pelinka as the person he was alluding to when he mentioned that he was exhausted of the "backstabbing" and "the whispering" that was going on behind his back when he suddenly stepped down as Lakers president of basketball operations on April 9.

"I started hearing, 'Magic, you not working hard enough, ' 'Magic's not in the office.' People around the Laker office was telling me that Rob [Pelinka] was saying things, and I didn't like those things being said behind my back-that I wasn't in the office enough and so on". I showed (Jeanie) the things he did well and the things he didn't do well.

Johnson did not hold back on "First Take" this morning, saying that Pelinka had circulated talk within the Lakers that Johnson was not working hard or showing up at the office enough. "Now, it's in the media and so on".

Johnson thinks that part of the problem during his tenure with the team was the fact that too many people had a say when it came to the basketball decision-making process.

"When we sat down and negotiated, I said, 'I can't give up all my businesses. And what's insane was-you know when I took the job how many agents called me and said, 'you gotta watch out for him'".

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"I had to look inside myself", Johnson said. "Other people didn't bother me. what happened was I wasn't having fun coming to work anymore, especially when I got to work beside you, knowing that you want my position". Not only does Johnson say the Lakers won't trade James. "I said, 'Do I have the power to make decisions?' Because that was important for me to take the job, as well".

"Rob Pelinka", Johnson responded. So you know that I'm going to be in and out, is that okay with you? I said 'It's time for me to go'. Joey, you run the G League team.

After Johnson's departure, the Lakers announced they would not fill the position that Johnson left. "And I said it's time for me to go". While the 59-year-old thought he only had to answer to Buss, it appears she listens to numerous individuals within the organization such as Harris, special projects executive director Linda Rambis, and senior basketball advisor Kurt Rambis.

Johnson said he had told Buss that he would take the job for only three years before turning it over to Pelinka.

Johnson was hired along with Pelinka when Buss dismissed her brother, Jim, and GM Mitch Kupchak just 27 months ago.

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