Magic Johnson is still adjusting to his public limitations as an NBA executive, and well-intended comments about Giannis Antetokounmpo cost the Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations $50,000.
While appearing on ESPN’s “The Jump,” Silver said while it’s great for NBA legends to praise younger players, those in a front-office role should refrain from doing so.
“Context is everything, and there had been a prior issue with the Lakers early this season. And the message is — not just to Magic but to all the executives in the league is — stop talking about players on other teams.”
Johnson recently told ESPN’s Nick Friedell that Antetokounmpo is “going to be like an MVP, a champion. This dude, he’s going to put Milwaukee on the map.”
That seems harmless, but shortly before the 2017-18 season began the NBA fined the Lakers $500,000 for tampering. An investigation determined Los Angeles had contacted the agent for Paul George, who was still under contract at the time.
The league had already warned the franchise about tampering because of comments Johnson made about George on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Johnson is a respected voice, but the NBA has made it clear he should withhold thoughts about players on other teams while in a leadership role.