West: Magic looked like a ‘happy camper’ leaving Lakers

Jerry West believes Magic Johnson looked happy when he stepped down as Lakers president.

Jerry West will forever be tied to the Los Angeles Lakers.

No matter where he hangs his hat in the NBA, the man who appears on every NBA jersey as The Logo, will never cease to bleed the purple and gold of the Lakers, even though it’s been 19 years since he left the franchise which has his No. 44 hanging in the Staples Center rafters to pursue other opportunities, which has included time spent with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors and now, the Lakers’ cross-arena rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers.

Now helping the Los Angeles Clippers, who entered Thursday night tied with two-time defending champion Golden State in a first-round playoff series, 1-1, West shared his thoughts on the shocking decision by Magic Johnson to step down as Lakers president on April 9.

Jerry West during his playing days with the Lakers.

“My life has been the Lakers,” West told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “It’s an iconic brand, but there are things that happen — things that happen where everyone is trying to look for a reason that they happened. And if someone wants to walk away — and Earvin did it — there had to be reasons. But he did it.”

West went on to say Johnson appeared to actually enjoy making the announcement, which came about 90 minutes before the Lakers’ season-ending game.

“And honestly, he looked like he was a happy camper. He got the pressure off of him,” West said. “I have no idea what he’s going to do with his life. Well, I know what he’s going to do with his life, he’s going to pursue his other interests, which are time-consuming. But he might have a greater interest in those than he does the day-to-day stuff in basketball, the criticism that’s involved.

“That’s not fun to see, particularly for someone like him. I wish him the best. I really do. And I’m just hopeful that we can beat them more than they beat us.”