Magic Johnson excited Phil Jackson could return
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES – When the Lakers decided to fire coach Mike Brown on Friday, it’s doubtful that anyone was happier than Magic Johnson.
It’s nothing personal, the Lakers legend and ESPN analyst insists, but he never saw Brown as the right fit to replace Phil Jackson in 2011 and is now ecstatic over the fact that it might mean Jackson’s return to the team. The Lakers met with Jackson on Saturday and are expected to reconvene with him in the coming days. While there are other candidates, it continues to look as if the Zen Master will be back on the Lakers bench.
Johnson sold his minority ownership stake in the Lakers and has no title with the organization because of his minority ownership with Major League Baseball’s Dodgers. Still, because he became a basketball legend in L.A., the Lakers hold a special place for him. He spoke with USA TODAY Sports about the situation by phone on Sunday morning.
Johnson, who was recently listed as the fourth-richest African American in America (approximately $500 million as of May 2009), discussed the business aspect of re-hiring Jackson and continued his campaign for for the coach who won five of his 11 championships with the Lakers. Johnson was highly critical of Brown, and strongly denied that he undermined Brown by convincing Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss to fire him.
Q: You’ve made it pretty clear who you want to coach this team, Magic, but break it down for me. Why do you feel like Phil is the only choice?
A: When you get Dwight Howard and you get a Steve Nash, and you bring them to the Lakers, Phil would be a perfect coach of this team because of his recent success with Shaq (O’Neal), his recent success with (former Lakers center Andrew) Bynum and (Lakers forward Pau) Gasol. So he knows how to utilize both big men, put them in a position that they can be successful and that the team can be successful as well. So he already has this incredible history with Kobe, winning five championships with him. He would definitely, … [For more on Magic Johnson excited Phil Jackson could return, click here.]