Legendary NBA player Earvin “Magic” Johnson had Oprah visit him and his family in his LA home, to talk about various sensitive subjects, such as his 80’s relations with women, HIV virus, and about his son’s homosexuality.
Since retiring from basketball, Johnson has been successful in business, investing in movie theaters, a production company and restaurants. He has also been an activist in the fight against HIV after being diagnosed with the virus in 1991.
Johnson’s career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations.
He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA’s all-time leader in average assists per game, at 11.2. He played in 906 NBA games, holding career averages of 19.5 ppg, 11.2 apg and 7.2 rpg in 36.7 minutes per game.
Johnson was a member of the “Dream Team”, the U.S. basketball team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1992. He also is a 5-time NBA Champion.
RELATIONS WITH WOMEN
One of the topics that came up was Magic’s experiences with women while in the NBA. On Oprah’s “Next Chapter”, Johnson shared with Oprah how he dealt with women during that time.
Johnson made it clear that there would be no relationship, “I already know who my wife is going to be,” no slumber parties and lots of threesomes. But, Magic maintains that he was never disrespectful.
“They wanted to be Mrs. Johnson and I was like, ‘Uh, ah I only got one person that’s gonna be Mrs. Johnson’. And they were like, ‘What? Why [not] me? Who is that? Who is she?’ All those type of things..When I get married, I’m marrying Cookie and they all knew that,” Johnson said.
When Oprah asked Johnson about protected sex, he said that at the time it “wasn’t a thing that everybody even talked about [protected sex]”, and that “it was a fun time and everybody having sex, unprotected sex.”
“I didn’t have people sleep over. That wasn’t the thing for me. So, it was more we had fun and that was it. I never disrespected women. I was always upfront. I wasn’t a guy who would mislead anybody. Once you’re upfront then they have to make a decision on what they wanna do and so they made their decision,” Johnson admitted.
Magic said the women would try hard to convince him.
“I’ve always said that the most pimpish thing about the truth is that it draws you into action. Once an athlete reveals his intentions or rules for engagement, you get to decide if that’s a situation that works for you. Fair exchange is no robbery,” he added.
DOCTORS REVEAL MAGIC’S HIV
In 1991, 32-year-old Magic Johnson was at the top of his game, about to start his 13th season in the NBA. He had married his long-time girlfriend Cookie in September of that year and they were expecting a baby. The couple was overjoyed, but a call from the L.A. Laker’s team doctor changed everything. Johnson remembers that fateful day.
“I didn’t know. I wasn’t sick,” Johnson says, recalling that he was in a hotel in Utah, getting ready for an exhibition game when he got the call. The doctor told him to immediately fly back to Los Angeles, but wouldn’t tell him why.
“I walk in the office and he started talking about the test,” Johnson says. “And what came out of the physical was, ‘You have HIV.'”
“You’re just in disbelief and in shock,” Johnson says. “You’re sitting there like, ‘Man, how could this happen to me?’ And what does this mean, of course,” Johnson said. “”I was just devastated because I thought I had did everything right. And then the worst thing was Cookie was pregnant with E.J.”
During the ride home, Johnson says he thought about how he would break the devastating news to her. “The worst thing about it is I knew I was going to hurt her,” he says. “Because she had waited for me, been patient with me, supported me — and now I’m about to break her heart.”
When Johnson walked through the front door, he says Cookie knew something was wrong. “I just sat her down and began to tell her that I had HIV,” he says. “And that just broke her heart. She began to cry — and not knowing what that meant for her and the baby at that time…. I often tell people when you make a mistake, you not only hurt yourself, but you hurt the ones that love you. And that hurt me. That hurt me.”
Johnson says he told her, “I can understand if you want to leave me because I’m now turning your life upside down,” he says. “And she smacked me upside my head and said, ‘We’re going to beat this together. Let’s get on our knees and pray.’ And that’s what we did.”
After an agonizing wait, the couple soon got some wonderful news.
“God blessed us when the test results came back on her and the baby that she didn’t have HIV and the baby didn’t either,” Johnson says. “I don’t know what would have happened if I’d have got that news that she had HIV as well. That would have been just devastating to me.”
MAGIC SPEAKS ABOUT HIS SON BEING GAY
Earlier this year, Magic and Cookie Johnson’s 20-year-old son, EJ, caused a stir when TMZ videotaped him walking down Sunset Boulevard holding hands with a male friend. On “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” Cookie and Magic opened up about how they learned their son was gay and why their love is unconditional.
Cookie Johnson (Magic’s wife) says she and Magic have known for a long time that their son was gay. She says since EJ was 3 or 4 years old, he loved to wear dresses and dance around.
“So you kind of know something, but you think they’re going to grow out of it,” she says. “And then he really never did, but it’s okay because it’s your child. You love your child and you support your child no matter what they are, you know what I mean? And so we did all along.”
“And being a mom, I knew,” Cookie says. “So when that teenage time came around, I just pulled him aside and talked to him about it because I didn’t want him to feel bad about it. I didn’t want him to feel like he had to hide. And I didn’t want him to be insecure, especially around us. So I just talked to him and he felt so relieved.”
Magic adds, “I would say it was a shock in the beginning, but also I knew. I was just waiting on him to tell me, and he did.
“E.J. is just a lovable guy. As I told him, I said, ‘E.J., I love you, so I’m going to support you no matter what.’ And I think it made him feel good — because it’s one thing with Mom. And it was another thing with me, because he wanted my approval. He wanted my support.”
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