Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss credited Magic Johnson for creating a culture in the franchise. Johson might not have left his executive job with the team in an ideal way but he made a few significant changes to the club in his short tenure. Most notably, he brought in LeBron James.
Johnson took over the president of basketball operations at the Lakers in February 2017. The franchise was in the middle of one of their worst stretches in the NBA. Kobe Bryant’s retirement had left them in search of a star man around whom they could build a team.
Winning a Championship didn’t even seem a prospect as they were hardly making it to the playoffs. Johnson’s arrival led to a few player movements to clear salary cap. In the summer of 2018, the Lakers signed free agent LeBron James on a four-year contract.
During the course of the season, he also tried for Anthony Davis. The deal would then fail but later materialize, leading to the fearful duo James and Davis.
Buss credited Magic Johnson for bringing in LeBron James and positive culture to Los Angeles Lakers
In an appearance on the “Daddy Issues with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson” podcast, Buss said Johnson took the Lakers in the right direction bringing in proper culture within the team.
“He got LeBron James to say that the Lakers are back, to believe in the organization, that we were going in the right direction, and I cannot thank Magic more for coming and helping me at the most difficult time in the professional, business side of the operation,” she said (H/T Harrison Faigen of Silver screen and roll).
“Using the word culture didn’t have clarity to me until Magic came. It’s like everybody knew ‘okay, the hammer is coming down, we’re serious, we’re about winning, we’re going to get back to winning,’ and how not only from the basketball side, but from every side of the organization, everybody sat up a little bit. It’s like ‘we’re here to do something, now this is what we’re committed to.’
James might have felt too lonely in his first season in purple and gold but Anthony Davis accompanied him last summer. Together, they led the Lakers back to among the best teams in the league. Prior to the league’s suspension, they were on top of the Western Conference and were one of the favorites to win the Championship.