Magic Johnson Blames Lakers GM Rob Pelinka For Backstabbing Him Before Stepping Down As President
Former Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson (real name Earving Johnson) isn’t holding back while making it clear that current general manager for his former team, Rob Pelinka was one of the key reasons for his sudden departure from the team in April. In an interview on Monday, Johnson goes into details making claims Pelinks was “backstabbing” him while telling those connected to the Lakers front office the 5-time NBA champion wasn’t working hard and he was looking to take his job with the Lakers. Magic says,
“I start hearing, ‘Magic, you are not working hard enough. Magic’s not in the office. People around the Lakers office were telling me Rob was saying things, Rob Pelinka, and I didn’t like those things being said behind my back, that I wasn’t in the office enough. So I started getting calls from my friends outside of basketball saying those things now were said to them outside of basketball now, just not in the Lakers office anymore.”
Johnson later adds, the only person that he had issues with during his tenor as Laker President was Pelinka.
“If you are going to talk betrayal, it’s only with Rob.”
He continues, touching on what was the last straw to walk away from the Lakers.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back was I wanted to fire Luke Walton. I showed her the things he did well and the things he didn’t do well. I said, listen, we got to get a better coach. First day, well, let’s think about it. Second day, OK, you can fire him. Then the next day, no, we should try to work it out.”
“Other people didn’t bother me, what happened was I wasn’t having fun coming to work anymore, especially when I got to work beside you, knowing that you want my position.”
During a press conference on Monday, Pelinka addressed Johnson claims of betraying him and wanting his position with the team, Pelinka says,
“I think the most important thing for me is the two years of being able to work side by side with Earvin are the some of the greatest memories I have in sports and work. He is an unbelievable person to work with. He fills the room with joy and vision. It’s really saddening and disheartening to think he believes things are in this perception. I think all of us in life probably have been through things where maybe there’s third party, there’s he said, she said things that aren’t true. I have talked to him several times since he decided to step away and we had many joyous conversations.”
Pelinka says he looks forward to speaking to speaking with Johnson to resolve in confusion.
“So these things are surprising to hear and disheartening but I look forward to the opportunity to talk with him and sit down with him and work through them just like in any relationship. They’re just simply not true. I stand beside him. I stand with him as a colleague, as a partner. I’ve always supported everything he’s done and will continue to.”
As previously reported, Johnson found out about the alleged “backstabbing” from the Lakers front office after being CC’d in emails. Fox Sports 1 analyst Ric Bucher detailed the story involving Jeanie Buss and Pelinka,
“My understanding is that there were some emails that were exchanged between Rob and Jeanie…about Magic and about what Magic was and wasn’t doing.
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