Magic Johnson Explains How He Learned to Accept His Gay Son

Magic Johnson Gay Son

In a recent interview, basketball legend Magic Johnson spoke candidly about the challenges he experienced accepting his gay son, EJ Johnson, when he first came out.

Magic Johnson told Variety magazine that he struggled when his son, EJ, came out as gay to the family at 17. “When you grow up in team sports, you’re thinking, ‘Is he gonna play sports?’” Johnson told Variety. “And then when I saw that he liked dolls and to play dress-up … ‘What are you doing?’”

“It was a lot for him to swallow. A lot of going back and forth,” EJ, now 29, recalled.

“I was out to all my friends,” EJ, said. “[My parents] were the last people that I really had to talk to about it. It wasn’t new for me, but they had to really take that in and digest it. Especially my dad, because he was really the last person to talk to. I think it was just a lot for him to swallow in that conversation. A lot of just going back and forth. And he just was rattling off about things that weren’t particularly nice. But he’s not somebody who works great being cornered or surprised.”

The interview with Johnson was held to celebrate the premiere of the new Apple docuseries, They Call Me Magic. The show covers the life and career of the basketball legend.

Johnson talked about how fans from the LGBTQ community have written him letters or approached him to express their gratitude. “You get the other side too,” he says. “A lot of people don’t love that I love my son.”

“As I grew older, as my wife talked to me, I couldn’t [judge EJ]. I had to accept who he was and who he wanted to be. He actually helped me get there. Because he was so proud. Cookie said, ‘Look in the mirror.’ I said, ‘You’re right.’ Because I’m proud of who I am. And he got it from me.”

The four-part docuseries “They Call Me Magic,” premieres on Apple TV Plus on April 22.