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Magic Johnson: Los Angles Lakers need Phil Jackson to be face of organization

Mar 13, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT

Magic Johnson

A month and a half ago, Magic Johnson pledged to stop complaining about the Lakers.

He’s almost kind of sort of barely maybe trying to live up to that.


Magic might as well have started that tweet with “No offense, but…”

Starting a message with expressing your love for someone doesn’t excuse complaining about their work directly after. The Busses haven’t hired Phil Jackson, and therefore, Magic is implicitly critiquing how they’ve handled the situation.

And for what?

Jackson is almost certainly headed to the Knicks. Is Magic trying to make a last-ditch effort to get the Zen Master to the Lakers? If so, will tweeting about really make it more likely to happen?

Magic is just creating divisions (or widening existing ones) and seeking attention – exactly what he pledged to stop doing.

Kobe Bryant isn’t happy with the Lakers, either, but he never promised  to play good solider. The Lakers should have known they’d be exposing themselves to Kobe’s critiques when they gave him a contract extension during one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

I’m not sure what they can do about Magic’s burns, besides take them and hope the relationship eventually heals.

  1. asimonetti88 - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Magic may be complaining, but he’s right. Seeing what he’s done for the Dodgers, maybe he should get back into the Lakers ownership game.

    • bballhistorian - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      Agreed! Magic masters the concept of simple “common-sense”.

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        Common sense ain’t all that common nowadays. It’s actually a skill now.

  2. Professor Fate - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Magic tweets what most Laker fans think. I guess that makes him “complaining” and “critiquing” just like any other fan. While I’d like to see Jerry West in charge again, the Lakers could do worse (a lot worse) than Phil Jackson.

    If making your opinion known “is just creating divisions (or widening existing ones) and seeking attention,” then all of us are guilty, none more so than the writers on this site. Okay, with the exception of Fox News.

    • k3nn3k - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      I know you were probably joking, and this isn’t the site to post a comment about news coverage, but here it goes anyways. Even Fox News has the right to express the news the way they see it. Just because it’s a conservative view point doesn’t make it wrong.

      The crazy thing is no one talks about MSNBC news being just as bad, if not WORSE! Have you ever tried sitting through some of their shows. Talk about being biased…they swing more left than Ted Williams (see how I tied it into sports…clever, I know.)

      Anyway…this really wasn’t taking a shot at your comment, just thought it was time to go on a rant for a second.

      • au1978 - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        Now I’VE got to comment. I agree MSNBC is as bad as Fox News. I really can’t stand to watch either. HOWEVER, MSNBC does not report under the banner of “fair and balanced” and delude itself into thinking that it actually reports unbiased news.

        OK, back to Magic…

      • 1historian - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN – Left

        MSNBC – Good for laughs. Al Sharpton your 6 o’clock anchor? Shirley you jest.

        Fox – Right. Highest rated cable news station.

        I don’t watch any of them.

      • k3nn3k - Mar 13, 2014 at 6:07 PM

        Wow, I guess I forgot I was on an NBC site…didn’t realize people loved MSNBC news so much.

        And I agree au1978, both are biased, my only issue is that Fox gets the brunt of the stereotype, while MSNBC never gets labeled the way Fox does. And I know their tagline is “fair and balanced”, but it is exactly that, just a tagline. Here is a website with a ton of news channel taglines that I’m sure we can all make fun of…

        Case in point, MSNBC’s tagline for awhile, is “lean forward”. Uhhhh…No they aren’t! They lean extremely left.

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        “they swing more to the left then Ted Williams.”

        Yo, that was a good one! lol

  3. crillbill - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Love Magic Johnson. He speaks for the real Laker fans.

    What exactly has Jim Buss done right?

    • romestar82 - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Nada Chiabatta

    • kb2408 - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      Made a deal to bring in CP3, which Stern screwed the LAKERS out of. Being the owner and the commish was a blatant conflict of interest. Jim gets all the blame for what has gone wrong but had that deal not been vetoed Mitch would’ve gotten all the credit.

    • antistratfordian - Mar 13, 2014 at 6:02 PM

      He speaks for real Lakers fans and real Lakers haters – who have had the same opinion the last few years yet still cannot get along.

  4. thomaskouns - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    I’m not a Buss fan but every championship team (Bulls, Celts, Mavs, Pistons) runs it’s course and has to rebuild at some point.

    The Lakers core of Gasol, a limping Bynum. Artest, drug addicted Odem and 35 year old Kobe have been on the decline for the past 4 years.

    Compounded by the fact that Lebron wasn’t going to leave a good thing and a lack of superstar free-agents,

    Lakers fans can’t accept loosing or the realities of rebuilding so they blame everyone else. Get any coach or GM you like the last 3 years you still weren’t winning a championship.

  5. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Jim Buss = James Dolan 2.0

    • dablakdrphil - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      I don’t think anyone can be worse than James Dolan, I would take Jim Buss over Dolan anyday.

  6. aboogy123456 - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    I’m sick of hearing Magic talk about the lakers. He has a right to complain, but the timing is wrong because as the article said, Phil is headed to the Knicks. He constantly has these calculated comments that take digs at Kobe and this current lakers team, and I’m tired of it. If he wants to help the team I think that would be great, but comments like this don’t help. I’m not sure why he dislikes kobe so much either.

  7. bballhistorian - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Magic is a winner. Lakers were perennial Finals losers before Magic came to the team and turned its perception. Every Laker in the organization from the Top owes its due to Magic.

    So he can say what he wants, and he’s actually right on this one. Regardless how you feel Dan. You must be on Jim Buss’ side…

  8. chargerdillon - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    It’s not that we necessarily need Phil Jackson, we just REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t need Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak burrying the team into the ground like they’re doing.

    Phil Jackson would be the dream choice. But he looks that much better with the nightmare of an owner that is Jim Buss.

    • kb2408 - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      It’s funny how you say Mitch and Jim are “burrying the team into the ground” but do they get any credit for the last two titles? Or does Dr. Buss get all the credit? If you want to criticize Jim, ok. But Mitch has been one of the best GM’s in the league for years.

      • spursareold - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        Jim had nothing to do with the last two titles. Dr. Buss didn’t make the mistake of unseating Jeanie until nearly the end. Thos two titles were Dr. Buss’s.

      • chargerdillon - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        Have to agree with spursareold, the key factor in those last 2 championships was having somebody who could bring us a champion. Jeanie Buss did that by providing the best coach to ever coach the game of basketball.

        If you want to defend Jim Buss, please tell me what he brought to the table other than being a product of his father who has every claim to success. I know what Dr. Buss has brought to the Lakers, I know what Jeanie Buss brought to the Lakers….. now what about Jim?

        While I would agree with you on Mitch. Fact is when Daddy stepped away we brought in Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni. 2 incredible flops at coaching. That’s on Mitch and Jim. And if not on Jim DEFINITELY on Mitch, or vice versa if Jim forced his hand.

        Either Mitch is a mastermind or a total yes-man who takes orders and does the paperwork. I do not want to dislike Jim Buss, but he’s running the ship and either he’s responsible for 2 back to back coaching blunders under his regime or he’s responsible for allowing management under him to make 2 coaching blunders.

      • aboogy123456 - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        Seriously, it’s stupid for you guys to argue who on the lakers should get credit for two championships. They won TWO championships, and a lot of things went right for them to do it. It was a team effort.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        Mitch has built not just championship teams, but also two other teams that made the Finals… with completely different cores… and while the core of the 3peat was built by Jerry West, Mitch was also GM for the last of those three, and helped bring in some of the role players.

        I don’t think Mitch is a yes-man. I think he is being interfered with by Jim Buss. One of the things that made Dr. Buss so great was that he mostly got out of the way of the basketball guys unless it was necessary for him to get involved- perhaps as a closer for a free agent, etc. Jim Buss is a meddler in the mold of a Jerry Jones or Al Davis. I hope he can learn to stay out of the way and let Mitch do his thing.

      • antistratfordian - Mar 13, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        Phil Jackson gets the credit.

    • 1historian - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      I’d like to take this opportunity to point out a few things.

      1) 1986 NBA champeens Celtics – 3 out of the 5 starters are now GMs – Bird, McHale and Ainge.

      2) I hate the Lakers, but it is sad to see them floundering like this. The NBA, the country, the world needs a good strong contentious Lakers-Celtics rivalry.

      3) This year they’ll both be in the lottery. Aside from the fact that this is a good year to be in the lottery – when if ever has that happened before?

      4) I hate the Lakers. I know I’ve already said that but I like the sound of it so I said it again.

  9. kb2408 - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Magic is acting like the LAKERS only chance to get back on the right track is if they bring back Phil. Maybe I’m mistaken but didn’t the LAKERS win titles before Phil became a part of the franchise? No one knows if Phil is just a great coach and that is it. If the LAKERS were to bring him back what would they do with Mitch? I have more faith in Mitch, who is an experienced GM, than in a guy that has never done the job. Do we just forget what Mitch has accomplished for the LAKERS?! Now if Mitch and Phil are going to work together, and Jim just signs the checks, I could see that.

    • spursareold - Mar 13, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Phil doesn’t play well with others. See: Logo driven off.

    • 1historian - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      I think Magic meant that the Lakers need to have someone who commands respect as the face of the team. Jackson does command respect, one of the reasons being that the press most of the time can’t figure out what he is saying, hence the title the zen master.

      But in reality he has no front-office experience.

      The Celtics and the Lakers are the flagship franchises of the NBA. Between them they have won more than half of the NBA championships. I think what is really bothering Magic is the sad and simple fact that the Lakers (whom I hate) not only don’t command any respect around the league, but are becoming the laughingstock of the league – THAT is what is really bothering him.

      I myself am enjoying their demise but not as much as I thought I would.

  10. luz56 - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    So you think Jackson is going to be around in 5 years? It would only be a quick fix but the problem is still Jim Buss…

  11. ncarolinarn7 - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    Jim Buss falls well short of being a basketball mind. He has the ego but apparently neither the know how or discerning skills his Father Dr. Buss had. D’Antonio not sure exactly of the spelling and won a few with the Suns when he had very young talent and a Hall of Fame point guard. It covers a multitude of sins that. He had coached a team and been a threat since in my opinion. Egos of Jim Buss vs. Phil is all about a peeing contest by Jim or he won’t play and take his toys and go home. Good for Magic speaking out. Mitch outta call him out also.

  12. chiadam - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    The Lakers are one season away from being the Bobcats with palm trees and Jack. Well, unless Jack decides it’s no longer cool to sit courtside for a lottery team. Which he will. But, palm trees are still nice.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      “The Lakers are one season away from being the Bobcats with palm trees and Jack.”

      I think they’re a few championships away from being the Bobcats too.

  13. cantonbound13 - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Hey Magic, it’s called Karma. Remember when you suggested to Steve Mills that he should hire Isiah?

  14. cruzan80 - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    A day late and millions of dollars short Magic….

  15. ncarolinarn7 - Mar 13, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    asimonetti88: excellent comments re: Jim Buss as a Jerry Jones type. I agree. With Dr. Buss gone now look for the Lakers to be mediocre until the pain of kissing changes and modifies the behavior. Right now he’s running on Daddy’s ghost wanting to prove he is a big boy and deserves to be where he is, I think. :)

  16. canemh - Mar 13, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Hey Magic, it’s called Karma. Remember when you suggested to Steve Mills that he should hire Isiah?


  17. 1historian - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    FYI – I am a Pats’ fan.

    A quick read


    1) Hire the right guy

    2) Sign the checks

    3) Stay out of the way.

    • cruzan80 - Mar 13, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      4) Pray that the QB you drafted in the 6th round turns into one of the best QB’s of his generation.

      Luck, has a just a little to do with it buddy……

  18. mogogo1 - Mar 13, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Buss the Younger has been a disaster. But that doesn’t mean they “need” Phil Jackson to be the face of the franchise. Make some good salary cap decisions, sign some talented (and healthy) players, then win some games and the face part of things will take care of itself.

    • blackman24 - Mar 13, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      Really? He pulled off the Paul and Howard deals, not his fault Stern nixed 1 and Howard left on his own.

  19. joescan54 - Mar 16, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Magic does nothing but put himself into the middle of the story. He coached the Lakers one season and didn’t have any success. Phil is gone. He’s too big of a presence for Jim Buss to matter. It would have been a smart move before they mortgaged the franchise to Kobe. Lakers need to draft talent and if Kobe retires, then rebuild.

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