Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki’s goodbyes were supposed to be the big NBA storylines of Tuesday night. Those were quickly overshadowed when Magic Johnson decided to make things fun by stepping down as president of basketball operations for the Lakers in the most No-Fucks-Given way we’ve ever seen.
It’s not something that anybody was expecting, and his reasoning was that he wanted to be happy and himself again (from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne):
“I was happier when I wasn’t the president,” Johnson said. “When you gotta make trades, you’re not happy.”
But the way in which he went about his announcement was hilarious, and somewhat irresponsible. He didn’t tell Lakers owner Jeanie Buss about his intentions prior to simply gathering the media (he knew Buss would talk him out of it) and letting the announcement fly.
At times, it was downright meme-worthy:
It’s quite apparent that he didn’t enjoy his job at all. The humor in it for all of us was the shock factor, and how straightforward and honest he was in his announcement. He’s also definitely the only person in the NBA that could pull this off and not get dragged for it.
Gathering some of the key pieces from his press conference, it seems Magic couldn’t live with making people upset, and having basketball as a suit-and-tie job:
“The backstabbing, 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.”
He didn’t want to have to decide on whether or not to fire Luke Walton:
“She gave me the power; that is the same page. I could have done anything I wanted to, tomorrow. But I decided to step down,” he said.
And he wanted to tweet without punishment:
“The fines and the tampering and the this and the that, I can’t help young men who want me to help them, or I can’t tweet out. Like Russell Westbrook, that was a great feat the other day. I couldn’t even tweet it out to say, ‘Hey, congratulations.’ If I had did that, everyone would have said, ‘He’s tampering.’ I don’t like that. I like to be free.”
If I was Magic Johnson and could either A) tweet all day and simply exist as one of the best basketball players ever or B) run the Lakers, opening myself up to criticism from sportswriting dorks, and possibly get fined for speaking my mind on Twitter, the path forward is easy. And he finally came to that conclusion himself, because Magic’s a smart guy!
I mean, he was really unhappy. No one is out here describing themselves as a “free bird” unless they genuinely hated whatever circumstance they were in:
Magic Johnson said he will return to community work and reaching out to players around the league to help in their development: “I’m a free bird and I can’t be handcuffed ... This is a good day.”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 10, 2019
Before he was in his most recent capacity with the team, he would send carefree tweets like these, where he was just a fan of the game:
My Top 5 MVP candidates are Stephen Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis & Chris Paul.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 24, 2015
Now I'm watching the Blazers vs. Clippers game!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 26, 2016
It's crazy that Klay Thompson can score 37pts and its considered quiet!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 2, 2016
Those aren’t fire tweets or anything, but Magic just wanted his old lifestyle back, so he went for it, which is inspiring af. He wants to walk around NBA arenas, charm, shoot that big smile and say what’s on his mind in 280 characters or less.
Going back to a life like that isn’t one that any of us can really relate to, because you most likely weren’t the biggest star in the NBA at one point in your life and probably aren’t sitting on more money than you can count. However, the lesson to be had here is: If you aren’t happy with your circumstances, put yourself first and change them.
Now that he’s not being held down, we have many more of these bangers to look forward to:
The only way San Antonio or Miami don't win the championship is if neither team makes the finals.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 7, 2014
Welcome back, Magic. Quitting your job so you can get these tweets off is a whole-ass mood.