Lakers players express shock at Magic's sudden resignation

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- "Today I'm gonna step down as the president."

With those eight words, Magic Johnson sent the Lakers franchise into chaos.

His resignation was a surprise to the entire franchise, from the players who were just minutes away from taking the court for their season finale to owner Jeanie Buss who wasn't informed before Johnson told the media.

"It was a surprise to everybody," said guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. "That news had us like, scrambling around the locker room."

The day after the announcement, players met with the media at Lakers headquarters in El Segundo for their end-of-season exit interviews.

There was one word that came from players' mouths more than any other.

"It was shocking," said small forward/shooting guard Lance Stephenson.

Echoed forward Kyle Kuzma: "I was a little bit shocked."

It's now starting to sink in that Magic is gone.

"Today it's really hitting us," Caldwell-Pope said. "That was really surprising that that happened. No one knew."

Literally no one. Magic didn't even tell his own boss, Buss, before going public.

"Somebody's gonna have to tell my boss cause I know she's gonna be sick but I know I couldn't face her face-to-face and tell her," Johnson told reporters.

It was a move Lakers players said they had never seen before but they were supportive.

"It's up to him," said guard Lonzo Ball. "It's his life, he felt it was right to do it when he came to the arena. I'm behind him 100%."

Added Kuzma: "He's Magic Johnson, he doesn't need to prove to anybody anything, he just made the best decision for him. That's all you can ask."

Despite the abrupt exit, most players still expect to see the Laker legend around the building.

The next question for the team is how long coach Luke Walton will be around. After a disappointing 37-45 record - and a sixth season of missing the playoffs - rumors have swirled that Walton could be fired.

But now that decision will be up to general manager Rob Pelinka.
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