Skip to main content

Report: Magic Johnson Used Bullying, Intimidation As Lakers President

Lakers staffer on Magic Johnson: "He used intimidation and bullying as a way of showing authority."

A new report by's Baxter Holmes details the dysfunction in the Los Angeles Lakers organization over the last few seasons and attempts to revitalize one of the league's most popular franchises.

The dysfunction came to a head in April, when Lakers president Magic Johnson abruptly resigned without giving anyone in the organization any warning. Johnson said during a press conference that there was some "backstabbing" going on but didn't elaborate. However, during an appearance on ESPN's "First Take" last week, Johnson said that the backstabber was none other than Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

Johnson's issues within the organization didn't stop there.

The report details that Johnson "berated staffers, including (Luke) Walton and created an in-house culture that many current and former longtime staffers said marginalized their colleagues, inspired fear and led to feelings of anxiety severe enough that at least two staffers suffered panic attacks."

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

Another staffer said that if Johnson was questioned on anything, "his response was always a threatening tone. He used intimidation and bullying as a way of showing authority."

The Lakers also parted ways with Walton, who is now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings.