Since he retired from basketball, Magic Johnson has worked hard to build a business empire that would help him boost his earnings now that he is no longer playing. Looking at the present, the former NBA star, who was voted one of the 50 best players in basketball history, has made an admirable transition from the game, with investments that have proven profitable over time.
About his personal life, Johnson revealed in 1991 that he had contracted HIV, the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which sent shockwaves across the athletic world.
He began medication to keep the virus at bay and has stayed in good health over the years. In collaboration with Apple TV+, Johnson has now released a docuseries in cooperation with Apple TV+ to give fans a detailed view of his emotional story.
Read on to get more details about the Docuseries.
About ‘They Call Me Magic’
The heartfelt documentary follows Johnson from his stint in Michigan before becoming famous in the NBA.
“We have told my story from Lansing, Michigan, Michigan state, winning the championship to the Lakers, winning five, to becoming a businessman,” explained Johnson. “But also to the lows of my life — when I announced HIV, people thought it was a death sentence, including myself, and now I’m sitting here 30 years later.”
In a particular episode of the series, it explored Johnson’s HIV diagnosis and the effect that came with it. He had just married his wife, who was pregnant with E.J, their first child, at the time.
While he felt relief when his wife and child tested negative for the disease, he was still saddled with the responsibility of becoming an advocate for HIV/AIDS.
“That was everything, for me to heal, also for me to help people, especially in the Black and Brown community, because it was running rapidly through our community at that time. We brought the numbers down,” says Johnson. “I became the face, and I am happy about that.”
Magic Johnson Appeared On A Nickelodeon Special To Champion For Awareness
HIV was not very well understood at the time, and the general public still had misconceptions about its transmission. To raise awareness, he appeared on a Nickelodeon special in 1992, where he surrounded himself with children who were also positive.
For him, one of the most memorable moments from the special was when he comforted a 7-year-old Hydeia, who became emotional as she talked about her disease. He also added that he is still friends with Hydeia.
“Hydeia got HIV by no doing of her own, and so we have to get the message out that this is what happens,” Johnson explained. “We are so proud that they were able to get this footage, put it in, and let people know the work I was doing back then and still the work I’m doing today.”
EJ Johnson Opens Up About Growing Up As The Gay Son Of NBA Legend
Although the docuseries explored the dazzling highlights of Johnson’s career, it also focused on the relationship between him and his son.
In the fourth episode, Earvin Johnson III opened up about the relationship with his father, especially while he struggled with his sexuality.
He claimed that his father “wanted him to be in sports at a young age,” although he never had a mind for it. He usually gravitated to more feminine activities like playing with his sister’s Barbie dolls. He also added that Johnson made him lead a “double life.”
“It was almost like I was living a double life. I would go to school and be who I wanted to be, but when I was at home, no.”
When his father initially got wind of his homosexuality, he claimed he didn’t take it well. “He said, ‘You need to be masculine, you need to be this way, this isn’t the life I wanted for you,'” EJ said. “And I was just sitting there, which was like, well, this is very hard to hear.”
Magic Johnson And Son EJ Are Closer Than Ever Now
Johnson eventually embraced who his son was despite the initial spat, and their relationship grew. According to Johnson, his son’s journey has continued to motivate other members of the LGBTQ community to start theirs.
He also noted that he was proud of what his son was doing, adding that his son has “saved” a lot of people by coming out.
“We get so many letters from around the world, from young people saying EJ inspired me to come out to my parents or come out to my friends,” Johnson concluded. “And so I am so just so happy, and all these stories come out in this doc series, and that is what makes it special.”
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