Magic Johnson’s Journey: His Life after Being Tested HIV Positive

Edduin Carvajal
May 20, 2019
12:51 P.M.

NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson had a successful career in sports that was suddenly cut short after he was tested HIV positive in 1991.


The 59-year-old man was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA draft by Los Angeles Lakers, the team that watched him become a legend during 13 seasons.

Magic, who played as a point guard, won five NBA championships and was three times Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) and three times MVP of the regular season. One of those MVP titles came in 1990, only one year before he announced his retirement.

Due to all his partnerships, the former NBA legend has an estimated net worth of $600 million.



Sadly for the basketball industry, Magic discovered that he had contracted HIV after getting a physical exam before the 1991-1992 NBA season. On November 7, 1991, the former NBA star revealed his health condition in a press conference and announced his retirement.

At that point, most people used to believe that the virus affected only homosexual people or individuals who often used intravenous drugs. Apart from that, not everybody knew how the disease could be transmitted.


Magic’s disease affected not only the Lakers’ franchise and the NBA, but also his family. When he learned about his condition, his wife Cookie Johnson was pregnant with the couple’s first child, Earvin III. Thankfully, both of them tested negative.


After sharing his illness and saying that he believed to have contracted it through unprotected sexual activity, Magic did as much as he could to raise awareness about it.



In late 1991, the NBA legend created the Magic Johnson Foundation to support HIV/AIDS research and to spread more information about those diseases. Apart from that, he released an educational guide titled “What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS” in 1992.

Despite retiring, Magic played in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Next to Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, and more, Magic won the gold medal. That year’s team is known as the Dream Team.


Later, Magic worked as a sports commentator for Turner Network TV for seven years and then became a studio analyst for ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” in 2008.

During the 1993-1994 NBA season, Magic became the coach of the Lakers and, in 1996, he briefly came back as a player. However, he retired for good that year.



Not only Magic was successful in the court but also out of it. After retiring, he created Magic Johnson Enterprises, an investment company through which Magic owns different businesses, including movie theaters, restaurants, and shares of some sports team, like the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

Due to all his partnerships, the former NBA legend has an estimated net worth of $600 million.



In 1981, two years after becoming a professional basketball player, he fathered a son named Andre Johnson with his then-girlfriend Melissa Mitchell. Andre grew up with his mother and only visited Magic occasionally.

Thankfully, the pair worked in their relationship, and now they seem to be close. So much so, that they have been seen vacationing together and Andre was even the Vice President of his father’s business.

In April 2016, Magic’s eldest child was running his own company called Love + Light Ventures, LLC. At the moment, Andre is married to a lady named Melissa, and they are proud parents already.



Ten years after Andre was born, Magic married Cookie Johnson. In June 1992, the pair welcomed their first son together, Earvin III, also known as EJ Johnson.

In 2013, EJ attracted a lot of attention after he came out as a homosexual man. One year later, he joined the cast of “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills,” a reality TV show which portrayed the lives of some of the wealthiest young people living in the city.


Even though several people have attacked him on social media due to his sexual orientation and have blamed Magic for that, both of EJ’s parents have remarked several times that they will always support him in his journey no matter what.

Nowadays, EJ is very active on social media and, according to an interview he was with ESPN’s Kelley L. Carter, he is planning on pursuing a career in the fashion industry.


Three years after EJ was born, Magic and Cookie wanted to expand their family. However, they didn’t want to take a chance on having an HIV infected child, so they decided to adopt a girl named Elisa in 1995. She was a baby when they introduced her into their family.

Just as her brother EJ, Elisa is very involved in the fashion industry. Apart from being on “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” and having social media accounts with thousands of followers, she wants to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, just like her father.




Back in January 2017, a lady named Renee Perkins made headlines by saying that Magic was the father of her then-35-year-old child. Perkins even said that Magic “abandoned” her and her son, Chauncey.

“It tore me apart because I really didn’t want to have or raise a child on my own. [Magic’s basketball “advisor” Dr. Tucker] told me I really had to get an abortion, and that Magic was not going to be with me because he had his career to worry about,” Perkins said.

The lady added that she contacted Magic and he reportedly told her that he would take care of Chauncey, a promise that he didn’t keep. At the moment, the situation was never publicly resolved, and Magic never released a statement about Perkins’ claims.

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