The basketball world is spinning on Tuesday night following the sudden resignation of Magic Johnson. Prior to the Los Angeles Lakers’ season finale, Johnson held a press conference to announce that he’s leaving his post as the team’s President of Basketball Operations, something that was such a gigantic surprise that no one — not even Lakers owner Jeanie Buss — had any idea it was going to happen.
Johnson’s 45-minute tour de force of a resignation press conference was one of the more bizarre things we’ve seen, and while it was happening, basketball fans and those involved with the game weren’t given the opportunity to really process exactly what was going on. One such person who did get that chance was Shaquille O’Neal, as the Lakers legend spent Tuesday night following along from his seat on the Inside the NBA set.
Shaq was, obviously, really surprised about what was happening, making it clear he had no plans on speculating what was going on besides saying he does not know Johnson to be a man who would “walk away from something.” He did, however, already know exactly who he wants to replace Johnson: Clippers executive Jerry West.
“I’ma go on the record and say this,” Shaq said. “There’s a gentleman across the hall who is a born Laker, and he was general manager when I was there, and things didn’t work out and he kinda went away. I would like to see him get that job, a gentleman by the name of Jerry West. If anybody can bring the franchise back to where it was, it’s definitely Jerry West.”
It’s a ringing endorsement for West, who has done incredible work during his front office career that has seen him win Executive of the Year twice. He turns 81 in May, so who knows if he can still do day-to-day front office stuff — he’s officially listed as a consultant by the Clippers — but if Shaq has his way, none of that will matter, and West will be tasked with getting the Lakers back to prominence.