Taking pragmatic approach, Magic Johnson hopes Lakers ‘lose every game’

The LA Lakers legend says 'if you're going to lose, you've got to lose, because you can't be in the middle of the pack' as the club flounder this season at 6-16.
Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson played 13 seasons for the LA Lakers. Nathan Denette / AP / Canadian Press
Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson played 13 seasons for the LA Lakers. Nathan Denette / AP / Canadian Press

Magic Johnson wants the Los Angeles Lakers to lose every game this season for their own good.

Coach Byron Scott thinks they’re better off learning how to win, and that’s just what they did several hours after Magic’s latest pointed comments.

Johnson discussed the struggling Lakers on Tuesday at a promotional appearance in New York, and the Hall of Famer dished out some blunt thoughts on the 16-time NBA champion franchise’s future.

“I hope the Lakers lose every game,” the former Lakers point guard said. “Because if you’re going to lose, lose. And I’m serious. If you’re going to lose, you’ve got to lose, because you can’t be in the middle of the pack. You either have to be great, or you’ve got to be bad to get a good pick.”

A few hours later, Scott responded to his former Lakers backcourt mate by stressing the importance of establishing a winning climate surrounding Kobe Bryant. Scott says tanking wouldn’t be entertained by the Lakers, whose 6-16 record is tied for the second-worst in the Western Conference.

“That’s easy to say, but when you’re behind the scenes and you’re in the trenches and you’re coaching, that’s not something that you want to do,” Scott said. “We’ve got to go out here and win every game possible. I mean, if you lose games, that’s one thing. But to go out and try to lose, that’s a different story. I think that sends a message to those guys in there that it’s going back to that losing mentality. We don’t we want to create that here.”

Bryant scored 32 points in the Lakers’ 98-95 win over Sacramento on Tuesday, ending a three-game losing run. Kobe also wants no part of Magic’s plan.

“He’s used to being an owner,” Bryant said with a laugh. “He’s the owner of the Dodgers. He was an owner of the Lakers. That’s speaking from an owner’s perspective. ... the fans – hopefully some of them – are smart enough to understand his perspective as an owner. I certainly am. Magic is one of the most competitive players of all time. He doesn’t want to lose.”

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Published: December 10, 2014 04:00 AM

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