Shortly after Earvin “EJ” Johnson III, publicly came out with his boyfriend and made headlines on Tuesday, his father and Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson gave a candid and heartwarming exclusive interview to TMZ’s Harvey Levin about EJ’s coming out.
”I told him, 'Hey, we are here to support you, man. We are gonna love you no matter who you are, what you do. We just want you to love yourself and also make sure that you have all the information,'" Magic Johnson said. He and his wife, Cookie, suspected EJ was gay and approached the topic by having “the talk” with EJ at about age 13. "And that's what I wanted to give him. Just provide him with advice and guidance."
The basketball Hall of Famer said they've always supported EJ, who is now 20 and a student at New York University. “I love EJ so much. That’s my main man. I told him that, ‘Nothing has changed. I just want to help you along the way. Because a lot of people are gonna be happy for you, then, some won’t understand. So, you have to remember, always talk to me, always talk to your mother, and we’ll just help you along the way.’”
GLAAD, a national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender media advocacy group, has praised him for speaking out in support of his son and the LGBT community. In a statement published in the Huffington Post, Rich Ferraro, vice president of communications at GLAAD, said, “Magic Johnson has been an exceptional role model throughout his athletic career, and now as the parent of a gay son. Magic's and his wife's unconditional support for EJ is a perfect example of the love and care that all of our children need, especially those who come to identify as LGBT."
In recent years, some active professional athletes who are gay have been identified in several sports including the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. In January, former San Francisco 49er Kwame Harris made headlines about reportedly beating a former boyfriend. After the San Mateo Daily Journal first reported the domestic violence and assault charges, several professional players weighed in on the subject of homosexuality and athletics.
In the TMZ interview, Levin asked Magic Johnson, who owns the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, for his thoughts on gay professional athletes coming.
“If that ever happened, I’m going to support them, 150 percent,” he said. “As a owner, you really got to support the person, you really do, and then help educate the public and that’s really important. ‘We stand with this player. We’re going to support this player.’”
Be sure to watch the clips from Johnson’s interview with TMZ below.
Johnson on EJ's coming out:
Johnson on homophobia in sports: