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Magic Johnson sells his share of the Lakers

October 18, 2010 |  2:02 pm

Nujohnson_410 Magic Johnson will forever be connected with Lakers history, but he can't be called part-owner of the team any longer.

Johnson sold his ownership stake in the Lakers, about 4.5%, to influential season-ticket holder Patrick Soon-Shiong, the team said Monday.

Johnson, who holds assets in many business sectors, including commercial real estate, health clubs and restaurants, said in a statement that his decision was reached after "heavy deliberation and a weighing heart."

"Dr. Soon-Shiong is a super Lakers fan, an outstanding businessman, a dedicated philanthropist and one of the most active community leaders in Los Angeles,” Johnson said. “I am truly humbled to have been a Lakers player for 13 years and an owner for over 10 years. I thank Dr. [Jerry] Buss from the deepest part of my heart and soul for allowing me such an incredible opportunity. I will continue to work alongside Dr. Buss, Jeanie Buss and Mitch Kupchak in their efforts to continually build and maintain the best NBA franchise in the league. 

"This was a bittersweet business decision made on behalf of my family and myself, and I want to assure all the wonderful and loyal Lakers fans that my decision will in no way affect my dedication and support for the Los Angeles Lakers. I am and will always be a Laker for life.”

Based on a valuation by Forbes magazine that the Lakers were worth $607 million last December, Johnson's stake was worth about $28 million, though exact terms of the sale were not disclosed.

"The sale of Earvin’s share of the team is a business decision which will not change our relationship," Lakers owner Jerry Buss said in a statement. "Our friendship goes well beyond business. Patrick is a long-time and passionate Lakers fan and we are delighted to have him as a partner.”

-- Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Magic Johnson in 2005. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times