Led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers were crowned the 2020 champions after defeating the Miami Heat in six games in the NBA Finals.
James silenced critics and further cemented his legacy after being unanimously voted the 2020 NBA Finals MVP, becoming the first player league history to win the honor for three different franchise. Meanwhile, Jeanie Buss made history as well as she became the first female NBA owner to win a title.
The Lakers’ success was hard-earned and a testament to the organization devoting themselves to working together. It is a sharp contrast to how they operated a year ago when Magic Johnson was still serving as president of basketball operations before abruptly re-signing prior to the end of the 2018-19 season.
Shortly after leaving, Johnson had choice words for Rob Pelinka, but according to Brad Turner of L.A. Times, the two have mended their relationship and celebrated the title together:
“After I left, that stuff was in the past,” Johnson told The Times by phone. “But I was still a Laker and nothing changed there. And the love that Jeanie and I have for each other will always be there and always has been there. That didn’t change either.
“I’ve always wanted the best for the Lakers, and that’s why anything that I can do to help the Lakers back to winning an NBA championship, I was going to do. Rob and I were able to move past the situation, and now we’re good. We’re friends. We were talking about repeating last night.”
Johnson was one of Pelinka’s first calls after Los Angeles clinched the title and for good reason as the former was largely responsible for getting James to sign with the storied franchise. Although no longer in a front office capacity, Johnson remained supportive of the Lakers and was available to Buss or Pelinka whenever they reached out.
With a championship on hand, the Lakers look poised to make runs for the foreseeable future and Pelinka should finally start getting the credit he deserves for the work he has done.
Pelinka grateful for time with Magic
Johnson and Pelinka spent two years in the front office together, with the latter serving as the general manger who oversaw the day-to-day operations.
While they did not end on the best of terms, it genuinely seems like their differences are behind them and Pelinka opened up about it after the Game 6 win.
“I still have such gratitude for the two seasons I got to work with Earvin, and he’s definitely a part of tonight with his vision and working side by side,” Pelinka said. “He’s an unbelievable person, and we have a great, incredibly strong relationship. He was one of the first calls tonight. Had a great talk with him.”
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