17 People who turned their backs on the Los Angeles Lakers

These former Lakers did not leave on the best terms.
Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard
Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard / Harry How/GettyImages
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8. Magic Johnson

Johnson was a loyal player who spent his entire 13-year NBA career with the Lakers. Things ended suddenly after his HIV diagnosis in 1991, but Magic came back to LA even when he returned in 1995. The Hall of Famer never played for another organization and even dabbled as a coach and executive for the franchise.

Johnson was named president of basketball operations for the Lakers in 2017 but lasted just three years in the gig. He did help bring LeBron James to Hollywood, but the franchise went just 79-109 with Johnson in charge. Moments before the final game of the 2018-19 season, Magic shockingly resigned from his position. 

He turned his back on the Lakers when he accused Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka of backstabbing him on ESPN’s First Take. The pair had a rocky relationship, but Pelinka took the high road when asked about Johnson’s comments.

Ultimately, Magic Johnson did not have the decision-making power he wanted with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the legend did not need to throw the front office under the bus on his way out. It was disappointing, but things worked out as the Lakers won the championship in 2020, the first season after Magic’s exit.