The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. It also says that photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure. In Magic Johnson’s case, a photo that was taken in the 80s has resurfaced in 2020, and it may just be a moment of embarrassment, as fans are questioning the retired NBA player for what may be abusive behavior.
The former Laker’s star was a known womanizer, and very unapologetic about it. Roland Lazenby, author of The Lakers: A Basketball Journey, wrote in the book: “It has been said that Los Angeles became Magic’s city. More accurately, it became his harem.” Johnson himself has also once claimed that he slept with 300 to 500 women annually.
However, life would take an unfortunate twist for the superstar basketball player when on November 7th, 1999, Johnson announced that he had contracted HIV in a press conference. “I plan to go on living for a long time,” Johnson said to the crowd at the old L.A. Forum, while also revealing that his wife, Earlitha “Cookie” Kelly, had tested negative.
Magic sat with Oprah Winfrey on her Next Chapter series on OWN where he got more candid on his sexual history. Being one of the world’s biggest superstars at the time, he was constantly surrounded by women who lined up to meet and sleep with him. Winfrey asks the former Laker star if he was ever serious with any of the women that he fooled around with.
“Oh no,” Johnson exclaimed before chuckling. “And they knew. And they wanted to be ‘Mrs. Johnson’, and I said ‘Uh-uh! I only got one person that’s gon’ be Mrs. Johnson.’ Smiling, he pauses and then continues, “They’d say what? Why me? What? Who is that? Who is she?
Johnson clarified that “Mrs. Johnson” was indeed Cookie that he was referring to that he would be marrying. “And they all knew that”, he went on to say. Winfrey then asks if it ever occurred to him to use protection, and he responds saying, “No. I think at that time it wasn’t a thing that everybody even talked about.” They discuss that this time period was during the 80s, calling it a “fun time” where “everybody was having unprotected sex.”
The two-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee added, “I never disrespected women. And I was always upfront. I was never a guy that would mislead anybody. I think that once you’re upfront then they have to make a decision on what you wanna do. And I think that they made their decision.”
Speaking of the 80s, a picture taken in 1983 has surfaced on Twitter that features Magic Johnson and a young Janet Jackson, and it’s causing quite a conundrum. The shocking image was captured after the two attended that year’s American Music Awards in Los Angeles California.
Wait. Magic Johnson & Janet Jackson were a thing in the 80s??? When TF was this?? pic.twitter.com/16slj6Z2Gm— DJ R-Tistic (@DJRTistic) October 12, 2020
The American Music Awards took place in January 1983. At the time of the photo, Magic Johnson would have been 24, while the “Control” singer was only 16, and the pair are caught in a kiss. There hasn’t been reports of the two ever being an item, but social media is quick to point out the age difference, and the fact Jackson was only a minor.
A year and a half after the leaked pictures were taken, Jackson famously eloped with singer James Debarge in September of 1984.