Cookie Johnson On The Moment Magic Told Her He Was Hiv Positive
On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson stunned the world when he announced he would be retiring from basketball because he had contracted the HIV virus. During his historic announcement, Magic briefly mentioned that his wife, Cookie — who was pregnant with their first child — had not contracted the virus.
Though she and the baby were safe, Cookies entire world was turned upside down. In her upcoming Super Soul Sunday interview with Oprah, she goes back to the moment when Magic broke the news to her.
Im home alone and he finally walks through the door and at this point, Im kind of shaking because Im like, What is it? What could it be, you know? Cookie says. And he came in slowly and he just said, I dont know how else to tell you. Im just gonna tell you.
With every terrible thought undoubtedly racing through her mind, Cookie says she actually guessed what Magics news was. Its so funny because I literally joked and said, What, are you gonna tell me youve got AIDS or something? I literally joked and said that.
To Cookies shock, he confirmed it was true. Magic had contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. It was like time stopped and, like, froze, Cookie says. Im standing there looking at him and I couldnt move.
It took a moment to sink in, and then Cookies first question was to ask if he was sure. He told her he was waiting for more test results to confirm, but then dropped another bomb: Cookie would have to be tested as well.
Cookie Johnson On Coming To Terms With Her Son Being Gay
The couple never kept it secret that their son, Earvin Johnson III, who goes by E.J., is gay, but Cookie and Magic Johnson explained how they came to terms with it.
I have pictures of all the Little League stuff I put him in and the baseball teams and the football teams. And it just wasn’t his thing. Ultimately you want your child to be happy, she said.
But I also knew that Earvin didn’t understand. And I was still trying to figure it out. I’m not going to sit here and say that I understood that he was gay at that time, because I didn’t. I just knew that this is what made him happy. And as time went on, it never changed.
Magic said he had a change of heart after a tough conversation with his son.
I had to come to realize that this is who he is, and he’s going to be happy. And so why am I judging him? Magic said. Im his father, so I got to be the first one to say, It’s OK and I love you. Now, how can I help you?”
E.J. went public with his sexual orientation in 2013 and owned his public debut as the news was picked up by entertainment sites. E.J. went on to become a reality star of Es Rich Kids of Beverly Hills and his own spinoff show, EJNYC, which premiered this summer.
Battles Against The Celtics
In the 198485 regular season, Johnson averaged 18.3 points, 12.6 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game, and led the Lakers into the 1985 NBA Finals, where they faced the Celtics again. The series started poorly for the Lakers when they allowed an NBA Finals record 148 points to the Celtics in a 34-point loss in Game 1. However, Abdul-Jabbar, who was now 38 years old, scored 30 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in Game 2, and his 36 points in a Game 5 win were instrumental in establishing a 32 lead for Los Angeles. After the Lakers defeated the Celtics in six games, Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson, who averaged 18.3 points on .494 shooting, 14.0 assists, and 6.8 rebounds per game in the championship series, said the Finals win was the highlight of their careers.
Don’t Miss: Is It Safe To Have Sex With Someone With Hiv
The Fallout With Friend Isiah Thomas
Magic Johnson and Detroit Pistons star point guard Isiah Thomas were very good friends. When the two faced off in the 1989 NBA finals, they famously kissed prior to tip-off, which possibly fueled the rumors years later that Johnson was secretly gay. An uninformed 1990s mentality thought, “Why would a guy kiss another guy?” Ironically, it would be Thomas that helped the rumors run wild.
Johnson wrote in his and Larry Bird’s 2009 memoir When The Game Was Ours, that Isiah questioned his sexuality. The rumor was that it was Thomas who then told anyone that asked about his good friend Magic that he was indeed gay or at least bisexual and regardless of if Isiah did spread those or not, there were repercussions. Magic admitted to ” to advocate for Thomas for a spot on the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team” made up of NBA players, partly for his alleged role in spreading rumors.
Years later, the two reconciled, but there’s no doubt that the influential Magic played a role in keeping Thomas off the greatest collection of athletes on one sports team ever. That’s a pretty steep payback for a rumor about a rumor.
He’s Still Got The Magic Touch
Johnson walked away from his beloved Lakers, but he is literally invested in three other prominent Los Angeles sports franchises. Magic was the “public face” of the deep-pocketed Guggenheim Baseball Management group that bought the Dodgers for a then-record $2 billion in 2012. While the “boys in blue” have been revitalized, winning six division titles and appearing in two World Series , they haven’t won that elusive MLB championship since 1988. “I want for the players,” Magic told ESPN in 2017, adding, “Man, I want it for them. I want it for the fans, who have waited so long.”
Johnson also brought his winning ways to the Los Angeles Football Club , of which he shares ownership with a number of partners including Will Ferrell, Tony Robbins, and women’s soccer great Mia Hamm Garciaparra. LAFC had a historic first-season run in Major League Soccer by earning the “most points by an MLS team in its expansion season,” which led to a 2018 playoff-bid.
While Johnson sold his minority stake in the Lakers in 2010, he did return to professional basketball ownership by buying into the Los Angeles Sparks WNBA franchise in 2014. Citing Johnson’s “larger-than-life personality” and proven business record, WNBA President Laurel Richie told The Associated Press , “When Magic chooses to enter into a partnership with a WNBA team, that’s a great thing.”
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Hiv In Bitlife
Magic Johnsons Nba Career
The NBA decided the 1980s, and Magic Johnsons career, with a coin flip. This is IF___ THEN___
Earvin Magic Johnson came from a close-knit, hard-working family in Michigan. Coming out of high school, Johnson showed immense talent and was highly-recruited by top tier schools such as UCLA, but he instead chose Michigan State because it had a high level of talented players already on the team. It was during college that he learned how to successfully play point guard under coach Jud Heathcote.
After a prolific college career, Johnson cemented himself as the top college player in the country in 1979 when he faced and defeated Bird and Indiana State. As a result, he was the No. 1 draft pick that year. Beginning in 1979, Johnson played a total of 13 seasons, all with the Lakers. He became the most dominant name in the NBA, averaging an incredible 19.5 points and seven rebounds per game.
Johnson won the NBA championship four times, established LA as a dynasty, played in 12 All-Star games, and participated in the 1992 Olympics as part of the fabled Dream Team. His pro career also spawned one of the greatest, ongoing rivalries in sports between the Lakers and the Celtics.
Fact Check: Mislabeled Photo Of Magic Johnson Is From 2012 Aids Documentary
4 Min Read
Posts on social media feature a photo of basketball legend and HIV positive Earvin Magic Johnson with a venipuncture in his arm. Some users claim the photo shows Johnson donating blood to the Red Cross to help people in underprivileged communities deal with COVID-19. This allegation is false. The image has been mislabeled: it is a screengrab from a 2012 documentary about AIDS and shows a doctor taking his blood sample.
An Instagram post with the claim liked at least 6,190 times can be seen here . Other posts are visible here , here .
Most iterations seem to replicate the wording or feature a screenshot of a now deleted tweet from Feb. 11, 2020 that said: Earlier today, NBA legend Magic Johnson donated some of his blood to the Red Cross to help people in underprivileged communities deal with COVID-19.
A reverse search of the image shows the screengrab is from Frontlines documentary Endgame: Aids in Black America, released on July 10, 2012 , which explored why the HIV epidemic is so much more prevalent in the African American community.
The screengrab circulating on social media can be seen around timestamp 1:07:14 here . It shows HIV researcher and Johnson’s doctor David Ho taking his blood sample.
Johnson, former Los Angeles Lakers point guard, stunned the sports world in 1991 when he announced he had contracted HIV and was retiring at the peak of his NBA career.
Read Also: Is Hiv Curable Or Treatable
Magic Johnson And Hiv
Johnson has been living with HIV since 1991 but he could have had the disease before that time and just did not know. As of 2013, he was 54 years old. If you look at a list of people who have had HIV, you will see that not too many of them make it to the half-century mark. Johnson has been able to take medications on a daily basis to help prevent the disease from killing him.
Lawsuit Dropped In Case Of Woman Who Says She Got Hiv From Magic Johnson
KALAMAZOO, Mich. _ A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by woman who said former basketball star Magic Johnson gave her the AIDS virus. The judge said he was doing so at the request of both sides.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Enslen dismissed the $2 million lawsuit Thursday, saying lawyers for Johnson and the woman, Waymer Moore, both asked him to do so. The reason was not disclosed in his order.
Attorneys for both sides did not immediately return calls today.
Johnson, 33, retired from the NBA two years ago after revealing that he has the virus that causes AIDS. Moore contended in her lawsuit that Johnson had given her the virus when the two had sex in 1990.
Johnsons attorney, Howard Weitzman, told the Kalamazoo Gazette that he would not reveal the reason the case was dropped.
The case is dismissed. The parties are going to get on with their lives, he said. Im sure Mr. Johnson is pleased the case is dismissed.
Moores spokesman, Armstrong Williams, said she also was pleased at what he called a mutual agreement. He declined to call it an out-of-court settlement or say whether Moore was paid anything.
Johnson acknowledged having had a sexual encounter with Moore, but said he was unaware he had the virus that causes AIDS until shortly before announcing his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers in November 1991.
She contends that Johnson either knew at the time of their encounter that he was infected or should have known he was at risk because he was promiscuous.
Read Also: Can You Test For Hiv
Magic Johnson Announces He Is Hiv
On November 7, 1991, basketball legend Earvin Magic Johnson stuns the world by announcing his sudden retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, after testing positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At the time, many Americans viewed AIDS as a gay white mans disease. Johnson , who is African American and heterosexual, was one of the first sports stars to go public about his HIV-positive status.
Revered as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Johnson spent his entire 13-season NBA career with the Lakers, helping them to win five championships in the 1980s. The 69 point guard, a native of Lansing, Michigan, was famous for his extraordinary passing skills, contagious smile and love of the game. In 1981, he signed a 25-year deal with the Lakers for $25 million, one of the NBAs first over-the-top contracts.
Johnson, a three-time NBA Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star team member, didnt completely hang up his basketball shoes after announcing his retirement in 1991. He was voted most valuable player of the 1992 NBA All-Star Game and played on the Olympic Dream Team that won gold for the U.S. in Barcelona that summer. He briefly returned to the Lakers for the 1993-94 season as head coach and made a short-lived comeback as a Lakers player in the 1995-96 season.
Nba Career With The Los Angeles Lakers
Leaving college after two years, Johnson was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. He did well in his first season with the team, averaging 18 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game.
Johnson won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award for his efforts in leading the Lakers to a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, winning four of six games in the championship series. The team also included such strong players as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes and Norm Nixon.
During Johnson’s third season with the team, the Lakers made the NBA Finals again. For the second time in his pro career, the Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers for the championship title.
Additionally, Johnson, who scored 13 points and added 13 rebounds with 13 assists in Game 6 of the 1982 Finals, earned his second series MVP award. The following season saw the third Finals match-up between the Lakers and the 76ers in four years.
This time, however, L.A. was defeated by Philadelphia, losing four consecutive games to the 76ers and winning none during the series.
You May Like: Can Hiv Be Spread By Saliva
He Became Bff’s With His Most Hated Rival
Magic Johnson will forever be linked to fellow NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird. Their fabled rivalry began in the classic 1979 NCAA title game where Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans defeated Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores 75-64. The stakes were raised when they became the franchise faces of the Lakers and Celtics, battling it out over the next decade in one of sports’ fiercest tug of wars. “The one thing I hate in life… is the Boston Celtics,” said Johnson in ESPN’s documentary Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies.
The superstars’ fiery relationship cooled after filming a 1985 Converse commercial filmed in French Lick, Ind., Bird’s hometown. “His mom gave me the biggest hug and hello, and right then she had me,” Johnson told NPR. “Then Larry and I sat down for lunch, and I tell you, we figured out we’re so much alike. We’re both from the Midwest, we grew up poor, our families everything to us, basketball is everything to us. So that changed my whole outlook on Larry Bird.”
Their relationship grew to the point where Bird was one of the first people Johnson called when he was diagnosed with HIV. “As strong as I appeared to be, I still needed a friend to just say, ‘Hey man, I’m here, I’m supporting you,” recalled Johnson, who has since developed a lifetime friendship with Bird.
Hiv Announcement And Olympics
After a physical before the 199192 NBA season, Johnson discovered that he had tested positive for HIV. In a press conference held on November 7, 1991, Johnson made a public announcement that he would retire immediately. He stated that his wife Cookie and their unborn child did not have HIV, and that he would dedicate his life to “battle this deadly disease”.
Johnson initially said that he did not know how he contracted the disease, but later acknowledged that it was through having numerous sexual partners during his playing career. He admitted to having “harems of women” and talked openly about his sexual activities because “he was convinced that heterosexuals needed to know that they, too, were at risk”. At the time, only a small percentage of HIV-positive American men had contracted it from heterosexual sex, and it was initially rumored that Johnson was gay or bisexual, although he denied both. Johnson later accused Isiah Thomas of spreading the rumors, a claim Thomas denied.
Johnson’s HIV announcement became a major news story in the United States, and in 2004 was named as ESPN’s seventh-most memorable moment of the previous 25 years. Many articles praised Johnson as a hero, and the then-U.S. President George H. W. Bush said, “For me, Magic is a hero, a hero for anyone who loves sports.”
Read Also: How Long Does Hiv Test Take To Come Back
Magic Johnson Describes The Day He Found Out He Was 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.
In the above clip from “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” Johnson remembers that fateful day.
“I didn’t know,” Johnson says. “I wasn’t sick.” Johnson says he was sitting 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 were on the floor yourself, I heard, for two hours,” Oprah says. “The doctor tells you and you just laid on the floor.”
“Yeah, 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.”
“I was just devastated because I thought I had did everything right,” Johnson says. “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.”