Magic Johnson isn’t shy about his desire to take over basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers — and he wants Kobe Bryant to lend a helping hand.
Unfortunately for the purple and gold, there are a number of problems with Magic’s hiring and his current media tour. During Wednesday’s episode of The Herd on FS1, Colin Cowherd detailed just one of the glaring issues in Los Angeles.
As Colin points out, you can look across all of professional sports and you won’t find a general manager who goes by one name like “Magic” or “Kobe.” That’s because being a GM is a thankless job, far removed from the glory and subservience that comes with being a superstar athlete.
COLIN: General managers have to do international travel. General managers have to sit in rooms by themselves, not being worshiped, massaged and adored. General managers get clobbered on Twitter. General managers often don’t have somebody to run and get them coffee. They’re on red-eye flights from Prague. They’re on red-eye flights from Munich. They don’t have a team of security officials making sure every whim is satisfied.
Say it out loud: Magic, Kobe running the Lakers. Yeah. By the way, MJ? Awful GM. Had to get that golf in. Magic? Terrible coach. Hey, had autographs to sign.
Icons have baggage. And entitlement. And egos, and they need to be stroked. And they’ve been worshipped. And they’ve been assisted only by people who say yes. Being a general manager is about hearing no all the time. No, that right-hander isn’t good enough. No, that third-round slot receiver isn’t available to play this week. No, the goalie didn’t pan out.
General manager is like a salesperson. It’s just a series of no: “Didn’t work out.” “Wish he would have played better.” “Oh no, he’s hurt.” “He never turned out into what he thought he was going to be.” Guys named Drake, Sting, Bono, Cher, Madonna, Beyonce, it’s a world of yes. “What can I do for you? Yes sir. Oh, you are right. Let me get this for you.”
Colin’s absolutely right, but that’s not the end of the chaos in Los Angeles. After all, Magic is still just an adviser with the Lakers, which presents an entirely different problem.
Despite a looming Buss family civil war, Jim Buss remains the team’s president of basketball operations. Jeanie Buss might want to get rid of her brother as we approach his self-imposed deadline for the Lakers to return to contention, but she also wants to do right by her father. She and Jim promised Dr. Buss they’d try to make this work; prematurely firing her brother would mean Jeanie decided to turn her back on her father’s dying wish.
That leaves the Lakers in an untenable position, with Magic openly canvassing for Jim Buss’ job before he’s out the door and the Lakers seemingly unwilling to cut the cord until their social contract has expired. All the while, the franchise treads water rather than going all-in on their rebuild.
Maybe this will just be a bump in the road for Los Angeles — or maybe this haphazard front office realignment will spell more of the same for the moribund Lakers.