Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been named president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a Tuesday announcement from the team’s president and co-owner, Jeanie Buss.
Johnson returned to the Lakers in early February as a business and basketball adviser. In his new role, he will report directly to Buss and will oversee all basketball operations.
Johnson played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons and helped lead the team to five NBA championships in the 1980s.
The appointment is part of a restructuring of the franchise’s front office, following a poor performance by the Lakers in recent seasons. Jeanie’s brother Jim Buss has been fired from his role as executive vice president of basketball operations, though he will remain a part owner with his sister. The siblings inherited majority control of the Lakers following the death of their father, Dr. Jerry Buss, in 2013.
General Manager Mitch Kupchak has also been relieved of his role, which he held since the 1994-95 season. The Lakers appointed sports agent Rob Pelinka, chief executive of L.A.'s Landmark Sports Agency, as the team's new general manager late Tuesday. Pelinka is the agent of former Lakers star Kobe Bryant as well as Houston Rockets guard James Harden, among others.
“I took these actions to achieve one goal: Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction, the direction established by Earvin and myself,” Jeanie Buss said in a press release. “We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again.”
The change in leadership comes just two days before the 2017 trading deadline. The Lakers have not made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season and last won a league championship in 2010.
Johnson is also chief executive of Beverly Hills-based Magic Johnson Enterprises Inc., an investment company he founded in 1987. The firm has a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers, EquiTrust Life Insurance Co., and television network Aspire. It also owns a number of restaurant franchises across the country.
Johnson is also a minority owner of Los Angeles Football Club, a Major League Soccer franchise that will begin play in 2018.