Magic Johnson joined SportsCenter on Tuesday evening to deny an ESPN report alleging he "berated staffers."

By Kaelen Jones
May 28, 2019

Magic Johnson denied a report alleging the former Lakers president bullied and intimidated staffers throughout his tenure with the franchise during an episode of ESPN's SportsCenter on Tuesday evening.

Earlier Tuesday, a report by ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes detailed the dysfunction from within Los Angeles, including further information on how Johnson's abrupt and impromptu resignation from the Lakers in April came to be.

Per Holmes's report, 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." Another employee alleged that Johnson spoke in a questioning tone whenever questioned on a decision.

However, Johnson denied such allegations Tuesday night. "I’ve never abused an employee and I never will," he said. "That’s not what I’m all about."

"I’ve never sat in an HR person’s office in 35 years," Johnson said. "Two years with the Lakers, no HR appearance. Jeanie Buss—do you think Jeanie Buss would allow me to abuse the employees? If that was the issue, they would’ve caught me."

Last week, Johnson joined ESPN's First Take to explain his decision to step down from the Lakers. He accused Los Angeles general manager Rob Pelinka of "backstabbing" during their time together, adding that he had no regrets over his decision.

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