Unexpectedly, Magic Johnson retired as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Johnson made the announcement on Tuesday before the start of the Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers game at the Staples Center.
Johnson told reporters he made the decision because of his relationship with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.
"I want to always preserve our relationship with her," he said, "and I think I had more fun when I could be the older brother and the ambbadador."
Johnson also said that he had not yet told Buss his decision.
"Someone will have to tell my boss because he knew he could not be face to face and tell her," Johnson told reporters.
The surprising announcement comes at the end of a disappointing and frustrating season for the Lakers. They signed LeBron James in the offseason, but a defective list combined with injuries, including one for James, torpedoed the Lakers' season. They were in 20-14 and in fourth place in the Western Conference after beating Golden State on Christmas Day. But James got injured in that game, and Los Angeles went 6-11 without him. They never recovered and could not reach the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.
Johnson said in an impromptu press conference that he was in an awkward position between Buss and Lakers coach Luke Walton. Walton was expected to be fired after the season because he was not hired by Johnson or general manager Rob Pelinka.
"I did not want to put her or me in that situation," Johnson said.
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He also said: "It's hard when you love an organization the way I love this organization, it's hard when you love a person like I love Jeanie, I do not want to hurt her, and I love Luke."
Now what? That leaves Pelinka in a difficult position. Do you keep Walton? And how does the template improve?
"I'm telling him we're in a good position," Johnson told reporters. "Next year we're going to be good, if we get another one of these guys, we'll be really good."
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