Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson has this week drawn criticism from fans of his former franchise by publicly stating that he hopes the team go on to lose every single one of their remaining games this season.
Making the comments at a recent promotional event, Johnson identified the tanking offensive as a legitimate option for a Lakers team that are well on their way to another disappointing campaign.
The truth hurts
"I hope the Lakers lose every game," explained Magic. "Because if you're going to lose, lose. And I'm serious."
6-16, and with serious issues on the defensive side of the ball, the famous franchise is unlikely to bother the higher echelons of the NBA this time around. And with college basketball playing host to several potential superstars this season, Johnson is adamant the Lakers must tank in order to acquire a talent that can help them for years to come.
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Johnson continued to defend himself on Twitter - arguing with the Lakers nation that a mid-table finish would not do anyone any good going forward.
The notion of tanking still leaves players and coaches uncomfortable and members of the current Lakers regime made a concerted effort to distance themselves from the idea today.
Kobe Bryant passed off Magic Johnson's critique as the view of someone with an "owner's perspective." The star argued that he, and any other player in the NBA, goes out on the court with only a win on their mind - rejecting tanking outright.
while Byron Scott insisted he will continue to send his Lakers team out on game night with only a W in mind:
""That really is easy to say, but when you're behind the scenes and you're in the trenches and you're coaching, that's not something that you want to do," Scott said on Johnson's comments.
"We've got to go out here and try to win every game possible. If you lose games, it's one thing, but to go out and try to lose, that's a different story. I think that sends a message to those guys in there."
The reality of NBA basketball however is that the league is cyclical. The Lakers, after many years of success, are in a down slump. Should they, on purpose or otherwise, go on to finish in the bottom rung of teams this season it would help accelerate their return to the good times.
In that regard Magic Johnson is right. Unfortunately being right doesn't often make for a popular opinion - especially amongst fans who pay their hard earned money to go see a team they expect to be competitive.
What do you think Lakers fans? Should your team admit defeat and tank? Or have they still got a shot at a successful season? Let us know in the comments section below...
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