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#pounditTuesday, October 19, 2021

Magic Johnson takes parting shot at D’Angelo Russell’s leadership qualities

Magic Johnson

Days after sending D’Angelo Russell packing, Magic Johnson continues to show him no mercy and no chill.

Addressing the media at Lonzo Ball’s introductory press conference on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations took a parting shot at Russell and his perceived lack of leadership qualities.

“D’Angelo is an excellent player,” said Johnson, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN. “He has the talent to be an All-Star. We want to thank him for what he did for us. But what I needed was a leader. I needed somebody that can make the other players better and also [somebody] that players want to play with.”

The 21-year-old Russell was traded to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this week along with Timofey Mozgov in exchange for Brook Lopez and a first-round pick. Maturity concerns often overshadowed the former No. 2 pick’s talent during his time with the Lakers, and Johnson did indeed indicate at the time that he wanted more leadership from Russell. The Lakers are now moving on to a new No. 2 pick in Ball, and based on these comments from Johnson about him, it sounds like Ball better checks off the boxes that the team is looking for.


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