Magic Johnson on Rob Pelinka: "If you want to elevate yourself, I'm all for that. But there's a way to get that, and it's not talking about the person that's above you."

By Scooby Axson
May 20, 2019

Magic Johnson said  "backstabbing" by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was part of the reason why he abruptly resigned as Los Angeles' president of basketball operations.

Johnson stepped down from his position on April 9 and said he had a desire to return to a more simple life he had before he became an executive.

During an appearance on ESPN's "First Take" on Monday, Johnson said that Pelinka was saying things behind his back, but did not elaborate what Pelinka said.

"If you want to elevate yourself, I'm all for that," Johnson said. "But there's a way to get that, and it's not talking about the person that's above you."

Johnson said agents contacted him and warned him to "watch out for" Pelinka.

Johnson has no regret regarding the way he left the organization. Johnson said Lakers chief operating officer Tim Harris tried to make his way over to the basketball side of the franchise instead of staying with the business side of the franchise.

"I had to look inside myself," Johnson said. "It's too many people at the table and everybody wants to share their opinion."

Johnson told First Take that one of the major factors behind his decision to leave was that he wanted to fire head coach Luke Walton and "get a better" coach. 

The Lakers announced they would not fill the position that Johnson left and eventually hired former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic coach Frank Vogel to replace Walton. Kurt Rambis remains with the team as a special advisor.

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