November 29, 2021

Magic Johnson Talks Business, Basketball and a Big Mistake With LeBron

I had offers before to own some of those teams and then I turned those offers down. But again, I love the game so much. I know the game. I know players. I know agents. The great thing about me, I’m set up where I know what works. I know what a winning and championship team looks like. So I know how to talk to the players — you can ask Julius Randle and Lonzo Ball and all those guys, because I’m happy to see them thriving and doing so well, and so just trying to help those guys reach their full potential. That was my role, and then you see them reaching it. So it was really good to see that.

Is there anything you would have done differently during your time running the Lakers?

No, I had a plan. We were over the salary cap. I had a plan to get us up out of the salary cap. We did that. I had to make tough decisions. Julius was coming up. I know Larry Nance Jr. was coming up, so we had to make tough decisions that worked out for them, but also worked out for the Lakers. So I couldn’t sign them to those extensions because I knew LeBron was coming up and Kawhi Leonard and all these guys, so I was trying to save enough of that cap space, so I could sign one of those superstars, because you have to have a superstar to win a championship. So, we did it right.

The only thing I probably would’ve did was probably talked to LeBron before I stepped down, because I felt that I owed him that, so that’s probably the only mistake I made was not talking to Jeanie and talking to LeBron before I actually did it. So, yes, I would do that different.

LeBron James came to Los Angeles late in his career. What can he do to climb the ranks of as one of the greatest Lakers?

You know the answer to that: Just win. He’s got to win another one. The Laker fans already love him. He’s already brought us one. He’s already got his jersey, it’ll be hanging up, but most of the guys who’ve been with the Lakers have won multiple championships. So, that’s all he has to do. Just win another one. Then it’s not just about the Lakers. It’s all about his legacy here, and it’s not just here — it’s in Hollywood. LeBron, he’s so amazing, not just as a basketball player, but he’s the biggest celebrity in a celebrity-driven town. So you got to give him credit for that too, as well.

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