LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Much like the rest of the basketball world, LeBron James was stunned when Magic Johnson stepped down from his post as the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations last month.
James opened up on the news of Johnson’s decision – which came April 9 shortly before the team’s season finale against Portland – on his HBO show “The Shop,” which aired late Saturday night. James said he got the news from longtime friend Randy Mims while he was stretching for the game, and didn’t believe it until he checked his phone.
“Man, get the f– out of my face. You bulls–,” James said of his initial reaction.
“Personally for me,” James added on the show, “I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization having a conversation with Magic. So it was just weird for him to be like, ‘Nah, I’m out of here.’ And not even have no like, ‘Hey, ‘Bron, kiss my a–, I’m out of here.’ I would have been OK with that.”
James met with Johnson at the latter’s home on July 1 last summer, minutes after the free-agent negotiating period began. Not long after, he committed to joining the Lakers.
ESPN reported that James and his agent, Rich Paul, had met with Johnson and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka a few days before Johnson stepped down, but James said he received no hint of the upcoming resignation.
Lakers guard Lonzo Ball said he found out about the news through James, who came into the locker room to tell teammates after finding out. “I was like, ‘That s– crazy,’ “ Ball said of finding out.