It’s only fitting a historic day for the Lakers indirectly involves the Dodgers. Co-owner Magic Johnson will take over as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, the team announced.
The Lakers dismissed General Manager Mitch Kupchak, who served in the role since 2000, and Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss, who was with the organization for 19 years, to promote Johnson. The Lakers hired Johnson as an adviser Feb. 2.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 21, 2017
Johnson, a Lakers legend and NBA hall of famer, joined the Guggenheim group in purchasing the Dodgers in 2012. He invested $50 million in the move. That provided him with a 2.3 percent share in the franchise, though Johnson didn’t acknowledge the specifics.
“It will pencil out about 3, 4 percent. It doesn’t really matter,” Johnson told the Los Angeles Times. “When you can write a $50-million check, whether it’s two, one, four, five. … The main thing is I had the ability to do it, to write it, and then the main thing is that I’m going to be involved.”
It wasn’t the first time Johnson bought into a team. He acquired 4.5 percent of the Lakers in 1994 before selling it to 25-year-long season ticket holder Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong in 2010 for what was reported “a lot more” than the estimated $27 million the share was worth.
Johnson has largely been hands-off in the Dodgers ownership role. Team President Stan Kasten confirmed he will be available when needed. Note that Johnson, to the public’s knowledge, does not involve himself in baseball decisions.
Stan Kasten: "Whenever we need Magic, he's been available. That won't change."
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 21, 2017
Magic will compete directly against fellow Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber’s Golden State Warriors in the NBA’s Pacific division and Western Conference.
Since retiring in 1996, Johnson has evolved as a businessman. His enterprise has invested in numerous Los Angeles-based businesses, as well as Starbucks, Burger King and other corporate chains. Johnson said the check he wrote to buy the Dodgers was his biggest.
Johnson is now involved with the Dodgers, Lakers and Sparks (of the WNBA), thus growing his brand as arguably the premier figure in Los Angeles sports.
The real question: Will he join the Rams or Kings next?