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In an interview with CNN‘s Anderson Cooper broadcast Monday, LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, zeroed in on former NBA superstar and Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, verbally attacking him in a “malicious” tirade that many consider the most bizarre, head-scratching segment of the interview.
Sterling tells Cooper on CNN, “What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn’t do anything.”
On the contrary, Johnson’s track record of opening businesses in predominately black neighborhoods and providing jobs within the community is well established.
Johnson has also long been regarded as a pillar of support not just within the black community, where he has launched several extensive business ventures, he’s also been recognized nationally for pumping financial vitality back into the economies of a host of impoverished areas.
His rivalry against fellow NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird contributed heavily to a national shift in the way the NBA was regarded at the time.
Johnson’s easy charm, 1000-kilowatt smile and unflappable poise helped pave the way for a new crop of superstars like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
Today, the league is a multibillion-dollar business, with 76.3% of its athletes being black, and it is watched in nearly every country in the world.
The league now has by far the highest number of African American players than any other major professional sport in the country.
Johnson is listed as the chairman and CEO of the Magic Johnson Foundation. The mission of the foundation includes working to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS by promoting and pushing education and awareness. According to CNN, the foundation has also raised more than $20 million for charity and donated almost $4 million in scholarships.
He also founded Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE) and began investing in movie theaters, restaurants and fitness centers in low-income neighborhoods. MJE has also focused on bringing high-quality businesses to diverse communities.
Johnson also helped change the national attitude toward HIV and AIDS in the early ’90s. Back in 1991, when Johnson took the podium to share his news with the world, many considered it a death sentence. Johnson assured news outlets at the time that he “planned on going on living for a long time bugging you guys like I always have. “
Magic’s announcement brought the disease into the limelight, forcing the conversation into nearly every American household and causing millions to ramp up the courage to get tested.
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