Dan LeBatard came under fire for recent comments he made regarding Magic Johnson’s qualifications to run the Lakers’ basketball operations. LeBatard implied that Magic keeps getting cushy gigs because of his charm and charisma, despite failing as a coach, talk show host, and what he characterized as a lackluster tenure as an NBA TV analyst.
Fellow ESPN’er Keyshawn Johnson called the comments racist, and PTI host Michael Wilbon sent a series of Tweets criticizing LeBatard for conveniently ignoring Johnson’s post-basketball business success.
Today in The Herd, Colin didn’t defend LeBatard’s comments, but said it’s fair to question any GM entering a professional sports job with no prior front office experience. He was critical of John Lynch’s lack of experience when he was hired as the Niners GM. It’s fair to say the same applies to Magic. There are plenty of legitimate questions.
“I think it’s actually healthy to question Magic and John Lynch. I have major doubts about both. And another reason I do, is because I’ve watched Phil Jackson in New York. He’s a smart dude. He’s been a disaster.”
Pointing out that the potential exists for Johnson to spectacularly fail isn’t a controversial statement. There is a long list of failed player-turned-GM’s that have been total disasters. There are a lot more Isiah Thomas’ and Matt Millen’s than there are John Elway’s and Larry Bird’s.
There’s no formula for front office success that doesn’t involve constant grinding and hours of reviewing the minute details that separate the elite execs people from the failures. If Lynch and Johnson are willing to grind out the long hours and surround themselves with knowledgeable, experienced staff, they have a shot to succeed. If not, they’re toast.
“I don’t think people understand. There are certain jobs out there where you don’t have a life. You get a life as a player. You could have a life as a broadcaster. You don’t get a life as a general manager.”
Here’s Magic and Lakers President Jeanie Buss discussing his hiring and the future of the Lakers.