Magic Johnson has finally addressed why he stepped down as president of the Los Angeles Lakers and he put the blame Rob Pelinka for allegedly talking behind his back.

“If you’re going to talk betrayal, it’s only with Rob [Pelinka],” Magic Johnson, 59, said to Stephen A. Smith, 51, during the May 20 episode of First Take. Magic reportedly had a “fraught relationship” with the Los Angeles Lakers’ General Manager, per The Big Lead, and many fans suspected Rob was the reason why Magic stepped down as the Lakers’ president on April 9. During his talk on First Take, said he first accepted the job after telling Lakers’ owner Jeanie Buss that he “could not give up on my businesses…I will be in-and-out, is that okay with you? She said yes.” After that, Jeanie said she was going to put Magic with Rob, “cause I didn’t know Rob, and she put us both together,” said Magic. Together, they got the team under the salary cap, and per Magic, “things got going in the right direction.”

“And then, I start hearing, ‘Magic, you’re not working hard enough. Magic’s not always in the office.’ People around the Laker’s office were telling me Rob was saying things … and I didn’t like those things being said behind my back. So I started getting calls from my friends OUTSIDE of basketball, saying those things now were said to them outside of basketball,” Magic said. “The straw that broke the camel’s back was I wanted to fire Luke Walton, and we had, max, three meetings. I showed her the things he did well and the things he didn’t do well. I said, ‘Listen, we got to get a better coach. I like him. He’s great. Former Laker.’ ” After going back and forth, and then Jeanie’s decision to bring Lakers COO Tim Harris into the discussion, Magic realized that it was time for him to go.

“I’ve got things happening that was being said behind my back. I don’t have the power I thought I had to make the decisions. And I told them, when it’s not fun for me, when I think that I don’t have the decision-making power that I thought I had, then I have to step aside,” said Magic.

“I didn’t like that Tim Harris was too involved in basketball. He’s supposed to run the Lakers’ business, but he was trying to come over to our side. Jeanine needs to stop that. It’s too many people at the table,” he added during the conversation.

During First Take, Magic also addressed LeBron James’s reaction to his stepping down. During an episode of The Shop, LeBron, 34, expressed how he was blindsided by Magic’s decision. “I love LeBron, I love his family,” Magic said, “but sometimes, as a man, you have to make decisions based on your well-being, and I made that decision based on me and my own happiness. I could have done it a different way – yes, he’s right – but I did it my way. And that that doesn’t take anything away from our relationship or how I feel about LeBron.”

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