Magic Johnson Praises Son EJ as a 'Beautiful Gay Man' as NBA Star Is Honored at End AIDS Gala

The retired NBA superstar received the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award in Beverly Hills Thursday night

<p>Steve Granitz/FilmMagic</p>

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

Magic Johnson is giving thanks to his family for their longtime support — including his wife, Cookie and their son EJ.

While accepting the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award in Beverly Hills Thursday night, the NBA Hall of Famer, 64, spoke candidly about the importance of family, 32 years after he shared his HIV diagnosis with the world.

“I told you, I said to you, ‘I understand if you want to leave me,’ and you smacked me so hard,” Johnson said in his speech, recalling a conversation he once had with Cookie, 64.

He added, “But the reason I tell this story is because a lot of people don't get that type of support. That's right. When they tell their parents or tell their loved one or tell their partner. And you have stuck right beside my side every step of the way.”

Related: Magic Johnson Says He's 'So Proud' of Son EJ: 'He's Saving a Lot of People's Lives'

Magic then pivoted and shared that by standing by their relationship, he and Cookie — whom he called “the world’s most beautiful woman” — went on to welcome two kids, son EJ, 31, and daughter Elisa, 28. He highlighted EJ, in particular, during his speech.

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“And I just want to thank you because now we support our unbelievable son, EJ, who is a beautiful gay man,” Magic said. “Stand on up, EJ. The fabulous EJ, stand on up.”



The retired athlete’s latest recognition highlights the financial and educational support Magic has lent to AIDS awareness, through the Magic Johnson Foundation. To date, Magic and Cookie have given over $15 million to underserved Black and other communities of color, according to Variety.

“Now we can have dinners and talk openly about HIV and AIDS, where back then we couldn't,” Magic said in his speech. “It was a whole total situation.”

Related: Magic Johnson Celebrates Wife Cookie on Their 32nd Anniversary: ‘Will Always Honor and Support You’

After acknowledging the contributions of Elizabeth Taylor, as well as Macy’s department store, Magic added that they have been able to “change the face of the disease.”

He then gave the crowd an assist: “And now I think with all of your help tonight, we have accomplished that.”

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