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Magic Johnson's complete interview about stepping down from Lakers

Magic Johnson's complete interview about stepping down from Lakers
Magic Johnson has been Lakers' president of basketball operations since February 2017. (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

Magic Johnson’s interview about stepping down as Lakers’ president of basketball operations in its entirety:

“Jim [Hill], great interview last night [with LeBron James] I was riding here thinking about that incredible interview you had. And then I've also been thinking about the great meetings I've been having with Jeanie the last couple of days. And I love her as a sister. And so today, I'm going to step down as the president. And, I think I don't want to, her and I have such an amazing relationship. I think that, um, she gave me full power to do what I wanted to do. But I think that with her and I, I want to always preserve our relationship. And love her. And then, I had more fun when I was able to be the big brother and the ambassador to everybody. I thought about Dwyane Wade retiring tomorrow and I can't even tweet it out or be there. Serena Williams called me a week ago and said, 'Will you mentor me and be on my advisory board?' And I said, yeah, I want to do that. You know, and so, when Ben Simmons called and we went through the proper channels and they made me look the bad guy out of that situation. But I didn't do anything wrong. I did everything right. I was thinking about all those times, all guys who want me to mentor them and have me be a part of their lives and I can't even do that.

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“I had more fun on the other side than on this side because now, tomorrow, I would have to affect someone's livelihood and their life. And I thought about that. That's not fun for me. That's not who I am. And then I don't want to put her in the middle of us, even though she said, ‘Hey, you do what you want to do.' I know she has great love for him. And great love for me. I want to go back to having fun. I want to go back to being who I was before taking on this job. We're halfway there with LeBron coming. I think this summer with that other star coming in, whoever is going to bring him in, I think this team is going to be in position to really contend for championships with the growth of the young players.

“She doesn't know I'm standing here because I know I would be crying like a baby in front of her — even though I'm about to cry now. But it's the right thing to do. Right move to make. And then, that way, he can stay in place and hopefully build the team, coach the team the right way and also, what I didn't like was the backstabbing and the whispering. I don't like that. I don't like a lot of things that went on that didn't have to go on. And so I hope that after tomorrow the Lakers can head in the right direction, which we are. Injuries really hurt us. But I enjoyed working with Jeanie side-by-side. I enjoyed working with Linda [Rambis]. Tim [Harris] and I had some good times. The brothers were outstanding as well, working with Jesse and Joey. I love working with you guys as the media. Bill [Plaschke] and I tease each other, but he knows I love him. You (Jim) are always going to be my friend forever. But sometimes, you have to think about where you are in life and what's important to you. And what's important for me is that I have to help everybody (inaudible 4:45) the Lakers. Now with the fines and the tampering and this and that, I can't help young men who want me to help them. Or I can't tweet out ...l like Russell Westbrook, that was a great feat the other day. And I couldn't even Tweet it out to say "Congratulations, man." And if I had of [done] that, everybody would've been like 'Oh he's tampering.' I don't like that. I like to be free.

“And then, I've got a great life. I was like, man, I have a great life outside of this. What am I doing? I've got a beautiful life. So, I'm going to go back to that beautiful life. And I'm looking forward to it. Somebody's going to have to tell my boss because I know she's going to be sick. But I know I couldn't face her face-to-face and tell her, even though I was just with her yesterday. We had, what, a three-hour meeting about the direction of this great organization. So, today, Rachel (Nichols), I'm free my love.

“Whew.”

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