LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Lakers legend and Los Angeles businessman Magic Johnson sat down for a one-on-one with CBS2 Sports Director Jim Hill to talk about the NBA season coming back and the recent unrest that has roiled the country.
Johnson, who just last month announced he would provide $100 million in loans to minority-owned businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, says he plans on giving another $100 million to meet the great need. He also said he and his family have been heartened to see people taking to the streets in a call for major change.
“The world has changed so much and my kids are learning a lot,” he said.
After winning five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson retired from the NBA in 1991 after testing positive for HIV. Since then, he has turned to business, investing millions in Los Angeles’ black communities for the past three decades, and investing in local sports teams like the Lakers and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I’m so happy to see that the protesters are marching in peace. They’re strong and united and they’ve been bringing their powerful voice to the world that things have to change,” Johnson said.
And just like the death of George Floyd was not an isolated incident, Johnson says people marching now need to keep up their calls for change.
“You gotta get involved and stay involved. That’s very important. You gotta get involved and then stay involved. And then make sure your friends get involved. And make sure your parents get involved,” he said. “So we gotta keep this going.”
Johnson broke out into his trademark megawatt grin when the discussion turned to the impending return of the NBA. The 2019-20 season came to an abrupt halt in March after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus, and the NBA has approved plans for a 22-team, eight-game wrap to the regular season on July 31 at Walt Disney World.
“I’m so happy that we’re going to be back,” Johnson said. “When you think about the Laker season, it was so fantastic and this happened — this pandemic happened. We all wanted to see what was going to happen. Are the Lakers going to win the championship?”
Johnson predicted that things will come down to the Lakers and Clippers in the West. But with the unconventional tournament, Johnson speculated that both Los Angeles teams could end up in the Finals, vying for the NBA championship title.