NBA Hall of Famer and Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson has ended his Twitter silence and has ripped the Lakers for not hiring Phil Jackson. Johnson had strong words for Lakers owner Jim Buss during ESPN's "NBA Countdown."
Magic Johnson has a passion for Los Angeles sports that extends beyond the Lakers, the team he played his entire career with, and is now part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Many were looking to Johnson, who has also served as an analyst for ESPN, for his take on the Lakers' hiring head coach Mike D'Antoni after firing Mike Brown just five games into the NBA season. Johnson was silent for a while on Twitter but has now let his voice be heard on the matter.
When news broke of Brown's firing, Johnson admitted that Brown may not have been the best fit in the first place. For a replacement, Johnson had a few names in mind that could take over, including Phil Jackson, former Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls head coach and owner of 12 NBA Championship rings. Jackson was the first choice for many fans and analysts and was contacted by the Lakers about the head coach position. But just before he was going to accept the offer, the Lakers called him with the news that that they were picking Mike D'Antoni, former coach of the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks, instead.
After D'Antoni's hiring was announced, Johnson went silent on Twitter until Thursday, when he addressed the situation. Johnson spoke about Buss on ESPN's “NBA Countdown” program on Wednesday, notes USA Today. Speaking about the hiring, Johnson said, "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.” He said Buss mishandled the situation and should not have misled fans to believe that it was Jackson's job if he wanted it.
Johnson stated emphatically, “Love Dr. Buss, don't trust Jim Buss.”
On Twitter following the segment, Johnson had kind words for D'Antoni, hoping he can win a championship with the Lakers, and was supportive of the new coach as well as the players.
Video of the “NBA Countdown” segment is below.