Jeanie Buss Offers Heavy Praise for Magic Johnson’s Role in Bringing Back Lakers Culture

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

Despite the fact that Magic Johnson’s time in the Los Angeles Lakers front office ended in abrupt fashion, team owner Jeanie Buss recently made sure to offer praise for Johnson’s ability to change the team’s culture for the better.

Buss spoke on the “Daddy Issues with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson” podcast and indicated that Johnson’s approach to rebuilding the franchise was quickly evident.

His single-minded focus became clear when the Lakers signed superstar LeBron James as a free agent in 2018.

“Using the word culture didn’t have clarity to me until Magic came,” Buss said. “It’s like everybody knew, ‘Okay, the hammer is coming down, we’re serious, we’re about winning, we’re going to get back to winning,’ and how not only from the basketball side, but from every side of the organization, everybody sat up a little bit. … It’s like, ‘We’re here to do something, now this is what we’re committed to.’

“And he set us off on that path, and now I’ve really seen how the culture has come around in terms of bringing in somebody like LeBron and the players that want to come and play with somebody like LeBron, and the coaches that we have, and the coaching staff and what they’re all about, and what they’re trying to accomplish.”

As a player, Johnson was a central component of the Lakers’ five NBA titles during the 1980s and has remained an iconic figure in the organization since then.

Buss tapped him to become the Lakers’ president of basketball operations in 2017.

One year later, Johnson convinced James to sign with the Lakers and nearly pulled off a trade for Anthony Davis during the 2018-19 season.

Johnson’s departure last April was unexpected, though in the following weeks, criticism of how Johnson ran the Lakers started to surface, especially after last year’s disappointing season had ended.

However, before the 2019-20 regular season began, the Lakers bolstered their roster by finally managing to acquire Davis. Prior to the shutdown of the season, the Lakers had risen to the top of the Western Conference with a 49-14 record.

The connection between Buss and Johnson dates back more than four decades, when her father, Dr. Jerry Buss, became the Lakers’ new owner and immediately bonded with Johnson.

If the Lakers do manage to get back on the court and win an NBA title this season, it seems likely that Johnson’s contributions will be heavily noted by the team.

Share This Article
Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.