Magic Johnson in mourning because Phil Jackson wasn’t hired

Magic Johnson gets emotional as he speaks to friends and the media at a news conference on the 20th anniversary of his departure from basketabll at Staples Center on Nov. 7, 2011.
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

When the Lakers announced that they chose Mike D’Antoni as their next coach, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash poured their support behind the man that will take over at helm.

But one important voice in the Laker community remained mum.

Magic Johnson.

Johnson broke his silence Wednesday through Twitter.

“The reason I haven’t tweeted in 2 days is because I’ve been mourning Phil Jackson not being hired as the Lakers head coach,” Johnson wrote.

“My mother always taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Jackson was considering coming out of retirement for a third stint with the Lakers after Mike Brown was fired Friday.


The 67-year-old coach, who won 11 NBA championships while guiding the Chicago Bulls and the Lakers, received a call at around midnight on Sunday from Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak informing him that the team had chosen D’Antoni.

“I wish it would have been a little bit cleaner,” Jackson told The Times on Monday. “It could have been much more circumspect and respectful of everybody that’s involved. It seemed slimy to be awoken with this kind of news. It’s just weird.”

Kupchak claimed that Jackson’s hesitation may have cost him the job. Lakers executives met with Jackson at his home on Saturday and Jackson said he needed a few days to mull over whether he’d be willing to take on the rigors of being an NBA coach.

“There was no agreement to wait for [Jackson’s] response on Monday,” Kupchak said. “He told us that’s when he would get back to us. I could see where he might interpret that as ‘You guys would wait for me.’ But I thought when I said I had to go on and interview other candidates that it was clear I had a job to do.”


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