Magic Johnson says Lonzo Ball, selected second overall in this summer’s NBA Draft, is “the new face of the Lakers.”

The Lakers’ team president told the 19-year-old during his introductory press conference that he expects to retire his jersey someday.

Johnson thinks Ball can provide the leadership that the recently-traded D’Angelo Russell couldn’t.

Per the OC Register:

“Watching so much tape of him,” Johnson said, “you see yourself.”

 

The Lakers have drafted 90 players in the 38 years since Johnson arrived in Los Angeles. Never had any of them arrived with the fanfare and pressure that preceded Johnson’s introduction by Dr. Jerry Buss and Jerry West at the Forum on a June day in 1979.

 

Then on Thursday, Johnson welcomed Lonzo Ball.

 

“Don’t get me started,” Johnson said, beaming, “because you’re going to see highlight moments from this young man just by passing the basketball. And Laker fans are used to that. We’re used to great leaders. That’s why we win.”