Magic Johnson Is Stepping Down From Lakers Job

Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, smiles as he introduces new draft players, Moritz Wagner, and guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk,r in El Segundo, Calif., Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Photo by Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Magic Johnson surprised reporters Tuesday when he announced plans to step down as president of basketball operations for the Lakers. He's had the job since February 2017.

"You think about where you are in life, what's important to you," he said to the cameras at the impromptu Staples Center news conference. "And what's important to me is, I get to help everybody within the Lakers. And now with the fines and tampering and this and that, I can't help young men the way I need to help them."

"I like to be free," he said. "What am I doing, you know I have a beautiful life, so I'm gonna go back to that beautiful life."

The Lakers have been struggling for a while now, despite big efforts to reshape them as a championship team. They haven't made the playoffs since 2013.

According to stats from the NBA, the team had the 5th worst winning percentage in the Western Conference (.422) while Johnson was president.

He was a minority owner of the team from 1994 to 2010. And he returned in early 2017 as president of basketball operations. He was instrumental in getting Lebron James and Lonzo Ball into purple and gold uniforms

The legendary former player said he plans to go back to community work, where he can help players more with their development.

"I'm a free bird, and I can't be handcuffed," he said. "This is a good day."