After missing the postseason for three straight years, including setting the franchise record for losses in two of them, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss believed it was time for a change.
So this past February she fired her own brother, Jim Buss, who was vice president of basketball operations, and general manager Mitch Kupchak.
She replaced them with perhaps the most recognizable face in Los Angeles, former Laker great Magic Johnson, who took over as president of basketball operations. The pair then hired former sports agent Rob Pelinka to take over as general manager.
Neither Johnson nor Pelinka had any front office experience before taking over the Lakers, so the decision came with a bit of skepticism throughout the league.
But as they did when he guided them to five NBA Championships as a player, Laker fans put their trust in Johnson to turn around the historic organization from one of their darkest periods in franchise history.
One Laker fan who is happy to have Johnson leading the Lakers is rapper and actor Ice Cube, via Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles:
“I think that’s one of Magic’s strong suits: people like him,” Ice Cube shares his perspective. “People want to be around him. People want to hear what he has to say. To me, it’s a better recruiting tool. Magic Johnson—I mean, that goes without saying.”
Ice Cube recently narrated ESPN’s 30 for 30 series “Lakers/Celtics: Best of Enemies”, which chronicled the Lakers rivalry with the Boston Celtics, particularly in the 1980s when Johnson was a star for the Lakers, when Ice Cube was growing up in Compton, California.
So while Ice Cube admitted that he was a fan of what Kupchak was able to accomplish in his tenure with the Lakers, he was also very pleased that Johnson is the man pegged with the tough task of turning around the historic franchise.