It seems like an alternate reality now, but there was a time when dysfunction and controversy were defining characteristics of the Los Angeles Lakers. Back before their title run, before the arrival of Anthony Davis, LeBron James stood out as the one beacon of light in a dark era for Lakerland.
Mostly, it was infighting between the front office (Rob Pelinka and then-President Magic Johnson) that took over headlines, with reports indicating a major rift between some of the team's big decision-makers.
Just months after Magic Johnson stepped down, the Lakers would acquire Anthony Davis in a trade and, eventually, go on to win the title.
With so much credit being thrown around to all kinds of different people, one former Lakers legend, Michael Cooper, says Magic deserves a bit more credit for his role in building the team we're seeing dominate the NBA.
“I expected this (winning the 2020 championship) of the Lakers. Even before COVID hit, the Lakers are a good basketball team, and I think Jeanie Buss, Linda Rambis along with Rob Pelinka definitely finished a tough job, but who doesn’t get enough credit is Magic Johnson.
Magic started the ball rolling, coming in and influencing a legendary player such as LeBron James to come to L.A. and become involved with our organization.
Usually, when you get a high-profile player like that, they can attract other high-profile players a la Anthony Davis comes into play,” Cooper told Lakers Daily in an interview with Lakers Daily.
Remember, Magic played a crucial role in recruiting LeBron James, which obviously put the Lakers in a position to go out and get Anthony Davis a year later. Even LeBron himself noted Magic's presence as part of the reason he signed.
While his tenure as President wasn't a smooth one, Magic should definitely get his due for what he did in helping facilitate the turnaround of the 17x Champs, even despite the fact that he's on the outside looking in on their celebrations.