Before the start of the 2018 free agency, Magic Johnson made a vow to quit as president of the Los Angeles Lakers if he fails to land any marquee players over the next two summers.
The Hall of Famer must’ve been confident in his ability to lure a superstar to LA to make such a huge statement.
That confidence was soon justified as he was able to capture the biggest free agent on the market, LeBron James.
When the market officially opened on July 1, Magic met with James and the deal was concluded just hours later.
It was reported by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that LeBron was always interested in joining the Lakers but needed to hear what vision the front office had for the team to commit.
Johnson clearly said all the right things as the four-time MVP surprised everybody by agreeing a deal with Los Angeles on the first day of free agency.
Nerves set in
In a special interview on Spectrum SportsNet on Tuesday, Magic provided details about his face-to-face meeting with the 33-year-old and made an interesting revelation.
The Lakers legend said he waited in his car for an hour outside James’ California house before going in to speak to the three-time champion.
He knew just how significant this moment could be for the franchise moving forward and must’ve had nerves about it.
But he explained that they spoke in a relaxed manner and described it as two guys just talking about basketball.
“We had a great time of going back and forth, here we are two guys, similar,” Johnson said, per Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Trudell. “Both from the Midwest. Both grew up poor. Both love to compete.
“Both love to win, and I think both excel at the highest level. We connected right when I walked in the door.
“Just two guys that talk free to each other, and talk basketball, and that’s what I love about LeBron.”
The 58-year-old former point guard also stated that he was taken aback by how much LBJ knows about the current Lakers roster.
“He already knew the team, maybe better than I did. He broke the roster down right in front of me,” Johnson said. “… He knew every single guy, the strength and weaknesses on our team.”
This is surely an indication that the 13-time All-Star had made this decision long before free agency began.
But it also shows just how meticulous he is and why he’s regarded as one of the smartest players to ever play the game.
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