Magic Johnson accused Rob Pelinka of undermining his authority during their partnership running the Los Angeles Lakers.

Johnson abruptly stepped down as President of the Lakers on the eve of the regular season.

"It was a couple of reasons," said Johnson. "First of all, let me thank Jeanie Buss for the opportunity. When we sat down and negotiated, I told her 'Listen, I can't give up all of my businesses. I make more money doing that than becoming the president of the Lakers. So you know that I'm going to be in and out, is that okay with you? She said 'yes'.

"I said 'Do I have the power to make decisions?' Because that was important for me to take the job as well. She said 'you have the power to make the decisions.' 

"So I said 'okay, let's go do it.'

"She said 'I'm going to put you with Rob Pelinka' because I didn't know Rob. She put us both together.

"The first year in was tremendous. One of the strategies was to get up under the salary cap. I said 'Let's trade some people, get some trade picks. D'Angelo (Russell), you know, great guard, but had a problem when the whole thing (with Nick Young) went down, so I knew I had to get him out. We made some moves. That draft pick turned into Kyle Kuzma so we felt good about making that deal.

"We drafted Lonzo Ball number 2. I think he's an outstanding all-around point guard. Then Josh Hart. So things got going in the right direction.

"Then I started hearing 'Magic, you're not working hard enough. Magic's not in the office.'

"So people around the Laker office was telling me Rob was saying things and I didn't like those things being said behind my back that I wasn't in the office enough.

"So I started getting calls from my friends outside of basketball saying those things now were said to them outside of basketball. Now, not just the Lakers' office anymore. Now it's in the media and so on.

"People got to remember something. I've been in this business for over 40 years. I've got allies. I've got friends everywhere.

"Then I had to monitor the (Buss) brothers because Joey and Jesse wanted more involvement and wanted more power. I said I didn't mind doing that because they're good guys. I took that role as well because they felt like they should be in powerful positions.

Johnson then explained that the situation came to a breaking point when he received push back on his decision to fire Luke Walton.

"Then when those things start happening too much... The straw that broke the camel's back was I wanted to fire Luke Walton. We had three meetings. I showed (Jeanie) the things he did well and the things he didn't do well. I said 'Listen, we've got to get a better coach. I like him. He's great. Former Laker. The whole thing.'

"So the first day, 'Well, let's think about it.'

"The second day, 'Okay, you can fire him.'

"The next day, 'No, we should try to work it out.'

"When we went back and forth like that. And then she brought Tim Harris into the meeting. Tim, you know, he wanted to keep him because he's friends with Luke. And Luke's a great guy. When I looked up and said 'Wait a minute, I only really answer to Jeanie Buss. Now I have Tim involved. I said 'It's time for me to go.'

"I've got things happening being said behind my back. I don't have the power that I thought I had to make the decisions.

"I told them 'when it's not fun for me, when I think that I don't have the decision-making power I thought I had, I have to step aside.'"

Johnson was then asked to clarify what he meant by his 'backstabbing' comments.

"Just Rob," said Johnson.

"What happened was I wasn't having fun coming to work anymore, especially when I have to work beside you knowing you want my position. And I'm okay with that.

"Because this is what happened, I told him in Year 2 'I'm only going to be here three years. My job, Rob, is get you ready for this position.' I was going to help elevate him to the president's position."

Johnson said he was also warned by multiple agents when he became president of the Lakers to be careful of Pelinka.