Magic Johnson is a beloved in the realms of sports and entrepreneurship. The basketball legend has managed to remain a powerful force in the media thanks to his many businesses and his lovely family, which includes his son EJ Johnson. While EJ took up his dad’s charm in front of the spotlight, he has become the polar opposite of his father as far as career and branding. EJ is a queer television star known for his outrageous outfits and personality. Magic Johnson reveals that sometimes people give him flack for loving his son, expecting him to turn his back on him due to his life choices.
Magic Johnson is one of the most successful basketball players of all time. The former Los Angeles Laker played 13 seasons for the team and is considered one of the 50 best players of all time. He won 5 NBA Championships (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) and was a 12 time NBA All-star. He was also MVP three times in 1987, 1989, and 1990. Johnson’s personal life would yield three kids across two relationships. His eldest son Andre Johnson was born to Melissa Mitchell and raised primarily by her as well. Andre would go on to work for his father’s Magic Johnson Enterprises as a marketing director. Johnson’s second son, EJ Johnson, was born to him and his wife, Cookie Kelly.
EJ is a multi-media personality with his hands in reality tv, fashion, hosting, and more. Magic has a third child, an adopted daughter named Elisa. EJ would become the most famous of his siblings after being outted in 2013 by TMZ, who ran a picture of him holding a male friend’s hand. He received the full support of his family and has always lived his life openly and proud. Magic Johnson has been a proud ally of the LGBTQ community since the early ’90s after joining them in the fight for HIV/AIDS, a disease that affected him as well. So it made sense that he would support his own son when EJ decided to come forward with his sexuality.
Magic told Vibe Magazine in 2017 that the choice to support EJ was not hard because he loves his son. He advised parents to allow their kids to be who they’re going to be and not to decide for them who they are. Magic also said that the world is full of enough people rooting against your kids you should not be one of them.
However, he was met with some pushback from people who frowned at the idea of a pro-athlete having a child that is queer. In many instances, children of famous ballers follow in their parent’s footsteps. Brothers Steph and Seth Curry followed their father, Dell Curry, into the NBA. Kobe Bryant instilled the love of basketball in his late daughter Gigi, and the two of them were really just following in the footsteps of Kobe’s dad, “Jellybean” Joe Bryant. LeBron James’ son, Broony James, looks to be gearing up to follow in his dad’s footsteps as well.
However, this is not always the case, as we’ve seen with EJ or Dywane Wade and Gabrielle Union’s child Zaya Wade, both queer kids of iconic NBA players. For EJ, he seems to be a product of his parent’s love, support, and encouragement. According to father Magic, people do not really want him to support his son the way he does. “A lot of people don’t love that I love my son,” he told Variety Magazine this year.
For Magic, it was a journey to being able to accept his boy at first. EJ recalled the pressures of his father wondering, “will he follow in my footsteps” and become a baller. Prior to accepting his son, Magic went against it for a bit, making up rules about EJ’s clothing and how he was dressing. Eventually, after the TMZ fiasco, Magic made the decision to support EJ. Now he credits EJ so much for helping him grow, crediting his son for the evolution that he’s undergone in recent years. Magic has come full circle, even starting an initiative in 2014 to address homophobia in Hip-hop culture.
Magic Johnson was commended by GLAAD for the continued awareness he brought to the community, both from his fight to end HIV/AIDS and from simply being a dad loving his gay son for the whole world to see.