The Los Angeles Lakers brought back one of their franchise greats in Magic Johnson earlier this season to be the president of basketball operations. Johnson has a tall task ahead of him as the Lakers were one of the worst teams in the league over the last several seasons, and while they have plenty of young potential, they just haven’t been able to put it together. The Lakers, though, have Luke Walton as their coach, and he has the team heading down the right path by fostering a good team environment.
But while the Lakers have Walton – another former Laker – as their coach, Johnson is apparently thinking of adding another franchise great to the coaching staff. And that franchise great is Johnson’s former teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
This is all according to Abdul-Jabbar, who spoke with Mark Medina of The Orange County Register about Johnson reaching out to him:
Abdul-Jabbar said Johnson and Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss have asked him to meet in a few weeks to discuss a possible role with the organization. Abdul-Jabbar is one of a handful of Lakers luminaries who were brought in to speak with the franchise’s young players last season.
“They can improve, but it takes hard work,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “They have to listen to the coaches. So many of them are so enamored with their own talent that they don’t realize they still have things to learn.”
Abdul-Jabbar also expressed interest in mentoring Lakers second-year center Ivica Zubac, who has worked on his hook shot with longtime Lakers consultant Bill Bertka.
“He’s equipped to use it well,” Abdul-Jabbar said of Zubac. “He has the length to begin with. If he can develop his shooting touch and agility, he’ll use it well.”
Abdul-Jabbar possibly joining the Lakers is clearly still in the beginning stage, yet with Johnson in charge, it wouldn’t be surprising for him to incorporate his former teammate in some capacity. What Abdul-Jabbar’s role exactly will be is also unknown right now, but as he alludes to, he could be a big man’s coach, helping the Lakers’ front-court players further develop their game. Abdul-Jabbar used to do this in the past as well, putting in work with Andrew Bynum and Roy Hibbert.
There are still a lot of factors as to whether or not Abdul-Jabbar actually joins the Lakers, but for now it seems like this is a definite possibility and another sign that Johnson is in charge of the team.