The son of basketball star Magic Johnson has come out as gay, and hit the town in Hollywood at the weekend with his boyfriend.
Earvin Johnson III, known as EJ, took to the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood at the weekend, hand in hand with his boyfriend.
Speaking to TMZ, Magic Johnson said: “Cookie and I love EJ and support him in every way.” He continued, “We’re very proud of him.”
EJ is a student at NYU, and in August, Magic tweeted, “Thx to my son EJ for hosting me at NYU. Look forward to taking him to dinner tonight in the city.”
Magic Johnson quit professional basketball in 1991, after he announced he was HIV positive. He has since taken over as part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
When asked by interviewers, EJ said he was “hoping and praying” for the Dodgers, and said “they’ve got a lot of work to do”.
In a 2011 interview with the Huffington Post, Magic said he had learned a lot from the gay community about combatting HIV and AIDS.
He said: “I learned a lot from the white gay community because they had gotten their community, rallied them, educated them and did a wonderful job about driving the numbers down. That is the best approach that I’ve seen; it’s been the most effective.
“So what we try to do in our community is bring those results to us. So I’m working hard to continue to educate minorities about HIV and AIDS and we’ve got to band together. We’re too fragmented right now, but if we can do that, we’re going to do well.”
Magic has also been an advocate for HIV and AIDS prevention charities, and an advocate of safe sex.
The issue of coming out is particularly topical in US professional sports, and in the US there is currently no openly gay player in the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association or National Hockey League.
Last week openly gay former NFL player Kwame Harris opened up about being gay in the NFL, saying if he had the chance again he would hope to have “found the strength” to come out, and that he didn’t want gay athletes to “feel alone”.
At the beginning of March, NFL player Scott Fujita spoke out about the issue of a lack of gay players in professional sport, and said that he thinks it would “not be an issue at all” to have a gay player in the locker room.
Brendon Ayanbadejo, of the Baltimore Ravens, the team which won this year’s Super Bowl, and Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, also wrote an amicus brief, and filed it, urging the Supreme Court to act against legislation preventing equal marriage.
Ayanbadejo previously said he hoped that homophobic comments by fellow NFL player, Chris Culliver would open a positive dialogue about gay players in the NFL, and in November, upon waking to find that Maryland voters had chosen to legalise equal marriage in the state, Ayanbadejo said it was “like Christmas”.
He was responding to a question about Republican Senator Rob Portman who was among the original sponsors of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) recently announced that he had changed his anti-equal marriage stance when his son came out.