In his first public comments about Johnson shocking the Los Angeles Lakers organization when he stepped down as president of basketball operations moments before the Lakers’ season finale April 9, James said he was given no warning or heads-up on Johnson’s decision.
On his HBO show “The Shop,” James said he was stretching before the game against Portland when he was told Johnson had told the media of his decision.
“Man, get the f— out of my face! You bulls—!” James said of his reaction when his longtime friend and business partner Randy Mims told him of what Johnson had done. “I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization having a conversation with Magic.”
Johnson was the only Lakers representative who met with James at his Los Angeles home July 1 before James decided to join the Lakers.
Just a few days before Johnson stunned the Lakers and the NBA world with his abrupt decision, he and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka met with James and James’ agent Rich Paul, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. Johnson gave James no inkling of his decision to come.
“So it was just weird for him to be like, ‘I’m out of here,'” James said. “And not even have no like, ‘Hey, Bron … kiss my ass. I’m out of here.’ I would have been OK with that.”
Lakers teammate Lonzo Ball, who was also on the episode with James, said his reaction was, “That s— crazy!”