Magic Johnson was a wanted man long before he became the Los Angeles Lakers’ team president.
During a recent interview on ESPN’s First Take, the 58-year-old Hall of Famer revealed that he fielded job offers from teams like the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors, in addition to perhaps the New York Knicks. Here’s the video of his divulgence, via Adam Zagoria of The 4 Quarters podcast:
Magic says he turned down jobs with the Dubs, Pistons and Knicks before taking the Lakers job. Said Knicks' President Steve Mills called. pic.twitter.com/oEloHJldWF
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) September 12, 2017
And here’s the transcription for all you play-button-challenged peeps, via CBS Sports’ Chris Barnewell:
“I turned down three jobs. My good friends Peter and Joe bought the Golden State Warriors. They came to me I want you to be an owner, a partner with us I said no I’m a Laker. My friends bought the Detroit Pistons, Tom Gores, and a Michigan State guy. Come on home it would be a great story, I can’t I’m a Laker. I could have owned other teams.”
The included teams make a lot of sense. The Pistons, at one point, courted Phil Jackson and seemed to be doing their darnedest to engender some nostalgic clout. The Warriors never appeared to be doing the same, not to a T, but they do have Steve Nash and did have Jerry West in their arsenal of behind-the-scenes employees. Peter Guber and Joe Lacob probably wanted some marquee-name power at the start of their tenure as owners.
The Knicks are more of a mystery. It sounds like Johnson rebuffed their overtures before Jackson jumped aboard, otherwise Steve Mills wouldn’t have been the one pitching him.
None of which matters. Like Johnson said, the Lakers were the only team that ever made sense for him, be it as a minority owner or executive. He has a rich history with them, and the fanbase in Los Angeles will appreciate him far more than even the most devout loyalists in Detroit, Oakland, New York and anywhere else.