Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 4/4/13

Magic Johnson sat down for a candid interview with TMZ earlier this week in the wake of his son EJ walking hand-in-hand with his boyfriend down the streets of LA. Johnson and his wife Cookie have made it clear that they fully support EJ’s decision to come out publicly, which has led to a great deal of praise from athletes and other people who feel the Johnsons should serve as an influence for others in a similar situation. As an NBA legend, MLB owner, father of an openly gay son and someone who lives with HIV, Magic is at the center of many issues involving the LGBT community. And if a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers ever decides to come out, Johnson said he will be his biggest supporter. “If that ever happened I’m going to support them, 150%,” Johnson stated emphatically. “(I’ll protect them) as much as I can. That’s who I am, I’m a protector. I protect my family. That’s why I was really upset that people were attacking my son and my family. “As an owner, you really have to support the person. And, then, help educate the public. Once the organization and the owner (supports the gay player), then everybody else has to say, ‘OK, we’re going to support them.’ Or, you just have to deal with it.” Magic said that he told EJ that his decision to come out is going to be “bigger than you” and will have a tremendous impact on the gay community. He said that an athlete has yet to come to him to reveal that they are gay and ask for advice, but he has received calls from athletes who are talking about “somebody else” struggling with being gay. Magic also talked about when he found out EJ was gay, saying that his son never went to him but that he and his wife sat him down at about age 13 to have a discussion. The goal, he says, was to make sure to protect and support their son. Finally, Magic discussed how he feels about some of the hateful reactions that have surfaced on African-American blogs and other forums. The situation can’t be easy for the Johnson family, but the way they are handling it is admirable and should help pave the way for acceptance. If an athlete really is as close to coming out as this report says he is, Magic could be one of many influential figures to lean on. Related posts: Magic Johnson gets Vin Scully’s name wrong twice at new Dodgers owners press conference Magic Johnson’s son EJ makes public appearance with his boyfriend Magic Johnson’s group wins Dodgers bidding for $2 billion, Frank McCourt profits

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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