Hall of Famer and Lakers legend Magic Johnson lashed out on Twitter and TV on Wednesday at the team’s recent decision-making, in particular executive vice president Jim Buss’ handling of the team’s recent head-coaching search.
The day began with Johnson tweeting, “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.” It was his first tweet in two days, and kicked off a firestorm.
On Wednesday night, Johnson said on ESPN, "First, hiring Mike Brown — he wasn’t the right coach. He’s a great coach but not the right coach for the Lakers. And I don’t feel Mike D’Antoni is the right coach for the Lakers. Especially when you have Phil Jackson sitting out there, who wanted to be the Laker coach. Jim Buss decided he didn’t want Phil Jackson, he wanted Mike D’Antoni. And that’s OK, but why didn’t you just say that? But the fans were cheering for Phil Jackson two nights in a row."
After the Lakers fired Brown late last week, Jackson quickly became the fans’ choice — and the perceived leading candidate — to return to the team he led to five NBA champions and which was struggling to a 1-4 start under Brown. But on late Sunday night, the Lakers stunned the basketball world by hiring Mike D’Antoni. The move led Jackson to accuse the franchise, particularly Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak, of misleading him into believing the job was his if he wanted it.
On Wednesday, when expanding on his comments, Johnson took a direct shot at Buss, the son of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, the man who drafted Johnson and launched the Showtime era in Los Angeles.
"[I] love Dr. [Jerry] Buss. I don’t believe in Jim Buss. Love Dr. Buss, don’t believe in Jim Buss. He’s made two critical mistakes already. To me, they made two critical mistakes,” Johnson said, referring to both the decision to initially hire Brown prior to last season and then to replace him with D’Antoni.