Magic Johnson is entering his role with the Los Angeles Lakers committed and sober about the challenges the franchise faces in rebuilding.
"I understand what I'm up against, but I'm here, and I'm here for the long haul, and eventually we will turn it around."
Johnson said he wants to empower his general manager, Rob Pelinka, to make decisions, but also noted, "Anything to do with trades, [the] draft, is, of course, going to end with me."
He added later, "You don't know that I'm a control freak. You don't get to where I am without being one. I'm going to make sure that I set the strategy, that I set the tone and that this organization is going to be about excellence on and off the court. That's what we're going to be about. And then everybody will have a clear role, and, of course, I'm a point guard, so I like to work with everybody."
Johnson also emphasized that he needs to learn the nuances of the NBA's latest collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap, analytics and more -- key elements of today's game that weren't as important when he starred in the 1980s.
"Those days are over with," Johnson said, adding that he'll accept NBA commissioner Adam Silver's offer to visit New York City soon to learn more about the CBA. "The salary cap and the new CBA has changed the game of basketball."
Johnson believes the Lakers don't have the same advantages as they had in his era on team building.
"It was easier then," Johnson said, "because free-agent movement or even making trades were easier back then, but now it's a little bit more difficult with the new CBA. And then with the new CBA, everybody is really trying to keep their young talent. So player movement is not going to be as easy as it used to be.
"Players today, whether they're coming to us or any other team, have got to buy into that vision and have got to say, 'Look, I can see it. This organization is about winning.' We've always been about winning. And you've got the right coach, you've got the right management team, you've got the right ownership, and so we're looking forward to going out and pitching to free agents."
Johnson plans on giving the Lakers his full attention despite his myriad of businesses and frequent speaking engagements.
"Everything is going smooth in my businesses," he said. "I can step away now. If it had been five years ago, 10 years ago, I couldn't do it, but the timing was right."