Magic Johnson Needs to Pipe Down, Be Patient and Let Mike D'Antoni Do His Job

Dan FavaleFeatured Columnist IVMarch 5, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Earvin 'Magic' Johnson hugs general manager Mitch Kupchak after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

There have been no shortage of heated, water cooler-esque debates since the Los Angeles Lakers hired Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson, which is to be expected. It was a shocking move, after all. 

But there comes a time when you have to come to terms with the hysteria and let the situation unfold. That time is now, and Magic Johnson would be wise to take notice. 

But he hasn't.

Speaking on ESPN prior to the Memphis Grizzlies-Oklahoma City Thunder game, Johnson (via Arash Markazi of revealed his disappointment in the Lakers decision to hire D'Antoni.

Magic Johnson: "I love the Lakers but I feel they have made two critical mistakes in hiring Mike Brown and hiring Mike D'Antoni."

— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 15, 2012

I'm all for dissecting how the Lakers may or may not succeed within D'Antoni's offensive blueprint, what role each member of the rotation will play and which players are a good or bad fit in his system. However, I'm completely against making brash judgments on the ultimate outcome when D'Antoni has yet to grace the sidelines for Los Angeles. 

Johnson himself—if he truly does still "love" the Lakers–should be too. But again, he's not.

He speaks like he knew Los Angeles was going to implode under Mike Brown. Unless he predicted the Lakers would lose four of their first five with a roster like this one, though, I don't want to hear it.

No one predicted they would start this badly, just like no one predicted D'Antoni would be hired instead of—not in lieu of—the Zen Master. So Johnson can sit there until he's blue in the face talking about who would have been a better fit, why this was a bad move and how D'Antoni isn't "the right coach" for the Lakers all he wants.

But it means nothing. Zilch. Zero.

Until we see how Los Angeles performs—over the course of more than five games, mind you—running D'Antoni's system and defending in spite of it, we just don't know how right or wrong this decision was.

After all, doesn't D'Antoni at least deserve a chance to prove himself? Johnson isn't calling Steve Nash a failure after just two games in Los Angeles, so why is he attempting to taint D'Antoni's tenure with the Lakers before it even officially begins?

It just doesn't make sense. And the fact that he went silent for two days, only to impose his premature will on us first via social media and later on national television, makes even less sense. 

The reason I haven't tweeted in 2 days is because I've been mourning Phil Jackson not being hired as the Lakers head coach.

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) November 14, 2012

We must remember that this is a delicate situation. In the early goings of a powerhouse formation, everything is delicate. From chemistry to execution to morale–everything matters.

Subsequently, drawing conclusions based on unfounded beliefs is useless and ill-advised, especially for a former player and prominent supporter of said team.

What kind of support is this, though? Does Johnson want the Lakers to fail under D'Antoni, to waste what's left of Kobe Bryant's career just so he can say he was right?

Better yet, will he be mature enough to admit it if he wasn't?

I'm not saying D'Antoni is going to lead the Lakers to a title this season, next season or at all.

Do I think Nash was born to run this offense? Yes. Do I think Bryant is going to explode offensively under D'Antoni? Absolutely. Am I convinced both Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard are two of the most ideal bigs to play within a seven-seconds-or-less scheme? I do.

Do I also realize there's the potential for failure, though? Of course.

But that's just the thing—I don't know. None of us do. Most understand D'Antoni needs to be given the chance to prove one side of the argument right or wrong, however. Johnson doesn't.

Yes, everyone—Johnson included—is entitled to their opinion. But he conveys his like it's a fact. Like it's a given that D'Antoni is going to fail. Like he's right before there's even been an opportunity to be proven wrong.

That in itself is wrong and damaging to Johnson's credibility, especially when his alternative suggestions included Pat Riley.

"My mother always taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," Johnson said (via his Twitter account) after having already tossed said advice out the window.

My mother always taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) November 14, 2012

Well, Magic, kudos to you for going 48 hours before you spewed such callow sentiments, before you littered the air with such unfledged musings.

Next time, though, do us all a favor and just keep it to yourself.