Former US basketball player Magic Johnson has again spoken out in support of his son EJ who publicly came out this week by hitting the Sunset Strip in Hollywood hand-in-hand with his boyfriend.
Magic said that he had known for a while that EJ was gay, and that he had always supported him.
He said: “We’ve known for a long time that my son EJ was gay,” he explained. “We finally had to sit down and talk about it. I told him, ‘Look, I’m gonna love you regardless. Just let me know. Are you, or aren’t you?’ And finally he said, ‘Yes, I am.'”
“I told him, ‘We are here to support you. 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,'” he continued.
Magic spoke of knowing that his son was worried about telling him he was gay, more so than when he told his mother Cookie.
“[It] was a moment for us as a family and an even greater moment for him,” Johnson said. “He’s just happy that it is out. I’m behind him a million percent. This is really wonderful for him.”
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.
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.