The most sagely advice Magic Johnson could give to Jeanie Buss, after agreeing to a new advisory role for the Lakers a few weeks back, was eventually convincing her to give him the launch codes as president of basketball operations.
Operation Magic Turnaround has already started. No baseball cap required.
Yet, there are some common-sense reasons why the new Prez must divest himself of several front-burner business dealings/distractions in order to do this right.
Check off the boxes: No more mail-it-in ESPN TV studio appearances, fewer personally guided Dodger Stadium tours of the owners seats section, and, above all, putting more trust in whoever is running that crappy sports memorabilia shop in the LAX terminal with his name on it, so they retain the no-refund policy once a customer purchases something then boards his plane.
But please, after all these things are figured out, who’s going to make sure he never abandons the @MagicJohnson Twitter account?
Magic Johnson Enterprises prides itself as an investment group “valued at an estimated $1 billion dollars (sic)” according to his website. But Johnson’s investment in master-of-the-obvious tweets has been so rich over the years that not even a host of parody sites can compete with it for pure entertainment.
It almost trumps anything else he’s ever charmed his way into.
A variety of websites this week dared to reprint some of Johnson’s nickel-and-dime declarations as they related to his handicapping of NBA talent over the years.
Who really believes what they read on Twitter?
It may seem rather meaningless. Unless you would like to give meaning to the fact that:
In 2011, he was endorsing Brandon Knight as a No. 1 overall draft pick, and proclaiming Jimmer Fredette as “the real deal.”
In 2014, he called the Dallas Mavericks a contender for adding Rajon Rondo, and praised the New York Knicks for hiring Derek Fisher as their head coach.
In 2015, he determined that Michael Carter-Williams was “the next Jason Kidd.” Oh, and Jahlil Okafor, who had won a state high school championship and an NCAA title at Duke, could “bring that championship pedigree to the Lakers” if they decided to draft him. Mitch Kupchak went another direction: D’Angelo Russell.
In 2016, talking directly to “Laker Nation,” he advised that the Lakers “should call LeBron James’ agent … just in case he leaves” Cleveland, and the team should “go after” signing Kevin Durant.
One of Johnson’s 3.4 million followers is @JeanieBuss (who still has the most revealing Twitter avitar of anyone in an NBA front office). Tell us she checked Magic’s account before accounting for his front-office acumen.
Maybe it all came down to the tweet Johnson posted just last Feb. 2 that clinched it for her: “I had a great conversation today with Mitch Kupchak and a really good phone call with Jim Buss!”
How really good were those convos? Look where we are now.
• Johnson spent his first day in office explaining on TV how valuable sixth-man Lou Williams was to the Lakers for veteran locker room leadership as well as having a favorable contract for the team. Hours later, via executive order, Magic gift-wrapped Williams to Houston for soon-to-be-released Corey Brewer and a first-round draft pick that won’t be lower than No. 25.
Williams’ first game with the Rockets: A team-high 27 points on seven 3-pointers which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, are the most 3-pointers made by a player in his first game with a team since the 3-point shot came into the league in 1979.
What points were Magic trying to make again in letting the valuable Williams go? As glorious as the past has been, the future is more important than the present?
• Were you as put off as some others were by the fact that Johnson doesn’t appear to be giving another qualified African American a shot to become the Lakers’ GM? Or will Johnson be more apt to load up the front office with all sorts of “Hidden Figures” types?
• Does Kyrie Irving’s opinions about the Earth’s flatness increase or decrease his value in Magic’s world?
• Before this season ends, will Jim Buss lawyer up and start signing family paperwork in invisible ink to make things even more problematic for the future Jeanie Regime, thus getting any sort of promised last laugh?
Wrapping up the week
• Before Kings fans completely give up on this season, how quickly will Jonathan Quick come in some sort of rescue mode for the last few dozen games to perhaps secure the most valued No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference?
• New MLB rules will allow a team to signal the umpire that they want an intentional walk to be issued, in order to speed up the game. Any consideration as well for a pitcher batting for himself to signal the umpire before he gets into the box that he’d just as soon take a strikeout so he can return to the dugout without further risk of injury or embarrassment, all in good time?
• This modern pentathlon that we’re being asked to witness at the Pomona Fairplex — 140 of the world’s best must compete in fencing, swimming, horse show jumping, running and laser-pistol shooting — sounds more like the requirements needed for a 18th Century escape from a Russian gulag. What, pray tell, did the ancient pentathlon consist of before the events were updated?
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