Magic Johnson says Jim Buss has to own up to his mistakes with Lakers

Magic Johnson
Lakers legend Magic Johnson ripped team owner Jim Buss during an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” on Tuesday for the way he’s run the organization.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Former Lakers great Magic Johnson again harshly criticized Jim Buss, the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations.

Johnson appeared Tuesday on ESPN’s “First Take” and ripped Buss for way he has run the Lakers.

“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong and you’ve got to stand up and say, ‘I made a mistake,’ ” Johnson said.

Johnson said Buss’ mistake was hiring Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni to be coaches of the Lakers.


“Just say, ‘Hey, I made a mistake,’ ” Johnson said. “We can understand that. We can deal with that. He always put it on somebody else. Then he’s mad at me ‘cause I criticize him. ‘Oh, Magic’s trying to get a job with the Lakers. Magic’s trying to bring me down.’ No I’m not. I’m telling the truth about the situation, trying to make us better, trying to get us to a winning situation, in terms of the Lakers getting back to being relevant and winning again. So you get mad at me when I tell the truth.”

Johnson said he wasn’t upset that the late Lakers owner Jerry Buss picked Jim run the team. Johnson, one of the Dodgers’ owners, is an unpaid vice president of the Lakers.

“So quit blaming and pointing the finger at everybody else instead of pointing the finger at yourself,” Johnson said. “Just say you made mistakes and we can live with that.”

Johnson was asked about his relationship with Jim.


“Don’t have one,” Johnson said. “Love his sister, though.”

Johnson said he has a “great relationship” with Jeanie Buss, the team’s president.

“I like Jim as a person,” Johnson said. “But at the same time, a great CEO or a person who is in a powerful position, will surround himself or put together a team to help them achieve their goals and dreams. Jim has not done that. It’s all about him and his decision-making.”

Lakers Coach Byron Scott offered his support for Jim Buss.

“The guys has an unbelievable passion for this game and this organization,” Scott said. “And I know he wants this thing to work out extremely well like we all do. ... I do know Jim is going to do everything he can in his power to help this organization get back to where it should be.”

Shaw wonders about Bryant

Denver Coach Brian Shaw, a former teammate of Kobe Bryant with the Lakers, said Bryant might consider retiring if he is unable to fully return from the right rotator cuff surgery that has sidelined him this season.

Bryant has one year left on his contract for $25 million.


“I know how dedicated he is to the game,” Shaw said. “But I also know that if he feels like he can’t play at a level that he feels good about, then he won’t play.”


When: 7.

Where: Moda Center.

On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 13-38; Trail Blazers 35-17.

Record vs. Trail Blazers: 0-2.

Update: It’s the last game for both teams before the weekend’s All-Star break. The Lakers are staring at making more dubious history. With a loss at Portland, the Lakers would break the franchise record for most consecutive losses on the road at 11. They are tied at 10 with the 1963-64 team and the 1957-58 (Minneapolis) team.


Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner