Pat Riley: Magic Johnson is qualified to run Lakers
Pat Riley is fully in favor of Magic Johnson running the Los Angeles Lakers.
Riley, who coached Johnson and the Lakers during the Showtime era, thinks his former point guard is qualified to run the team despite his lack of experience in the department, comparing it to his own experience of being named coach of the Lakers without any head coaching experience.
“Welcome to the new seat, whichever seat you just got to sit down in, and to an immediate reaction on both sides of the fence,” Riley told Harvey Araton of the Vertical. “With me, it wasn’t as public. There was no internet for it to get picked up on but I heard it within the coaching profession: ‘He didn’t coach in high school, didn’t coach in college, wasn’t prepared. How could he get the most prestigious job in the NBA?’
“To adamantly say Earvin is not qualified is nonsense. Like Jerry West, he’s a prodigal son of the Lakers.”
Riley thinks Johnson will find success, and at minimum, gives the Lakers instant credibility.
“Earvin is a guy who has been a prolific businessman, with his cinemas, Starbucks and other things,” Riley said. “He’s gone into companies and changed management, changed the culture. He’s charismatic, gets up in front of people and puts an immediate face on an organization.”
Johnson’s appointment has been a controversial one, but Riley is clearly in his corner. He knows Johnson well, and clearly thinks he’ll be a success.