Basketball legend Magic Johnson has recalled hitting Howard Stern after the radio and television personality claimed he had ‘fun getting AIDS’ – and also said he was ‘sort of’ than him on Johnson’s talk show.
The five-time NBA winner recalled that Stern ripped into the way he spoke, his HIV diagnosis and his sex life on the short-lived show ‘The Magic Hour’, which aired between June and September 1998.
Stern had been booked in a desperate attempt to get ratings of Johnson’s show, which was having a hard time at the time. The infamous shock shock had often mocked Johnson on his morning show.
“So many times I wanted to say something and hit him at the same time – in the air,” Johnson told Variety, adding that he has not spoken to Stern since the infamous interview.
‘That’s what it is. I learned a lot from it, Johnson said. “I have never put myself – or HIV and AIDS or my race – in that position again, ever again.”
‘I was angry when they booked him. But you can do nothing. When people look for reviews, that’s what’s happening. ‘
Although the show was cut off for low ratings after just three months, it still gave Johnson a foothold inside the entertainment industry after retiring from his beloved Los Angeles Lakers for the second time in 1996.
Magic Johnson remembered that he would hit Howard Stern after hosting him as a guest on his show ‘Magic Hour’ in 1998, when the famous radio and TV personality made shocking jokes about the five-time NBA champion’s complexion, manners and HIV diagnosis. Pictured: Stern (left) and Johnson in the air during Johnson’s ‘Magic Hour’ show 24 years ago
At one point, during the interview, Stern (left) told Johnson that he was ‘sort of’ than him, and that he spoke more like a white person. The Sirius XM contributor also told Johnson that he must have ‘enjoyed getting AIDS’ when he evoked the former basketball star’s sex life
The creepy episode goes off track from the start.
“Let’s get right to it,” Johnson said after welcoming Stern on stage at the start of the interview. “Why have you talked so much about me, man?”
‘What you have to work on, in my opinion, is that you have to stop trying to talk like the white man,’ Stern replied. ‘Everyone is anti-ebonics. I say, let it fly! What you need to do, ‘my brotha,’ is really get down to it. You talk Ebonics all you want. ‘
Stern did not stop there as he continued to associate Johnson’s manners with race.
‘Listen, you’re a black man. I grew up in a black neighborhood, “Stern added. ‘I’m blacker than you are, believe me. I’m the blackest black man you’ll ever meet. And I’m telling you right now when I lived in Roosevelt, Long Iceland, which is a black ghetto, everyone talked like this, he said, before imitating the way he thinks black people talk.
‘I was a big marble mouth, but it was fascinating because I was one of the characters. Why should everyone understand every word you say? Who cares what you have to say? No matter what you say. ‘
Stern eventually moved on to a more sensitive topic – Johnson’s HIV diagnosis, which he shared with reporters at a 1991 news conference when he first withdrew from the NBA.
“You had the life I wanted,” Stern said later in the interview, talking about Johnson’s sex life before his sexually transmitted infection. ‘It was white chickens? Black chickens? What do we have? What did you prefer? Would you like to have sex with everyone? At least you had fun getting AIDS. ‘
Johnson remained cold-headed, but corrected Stern, informing him that he had HIV, not AIDS, and that ‘no one is having fun’ being diagnosed with both viruses.
‘Believe me, brother, you did. That sounds funny to me, ‘Stern replied.
Magic Johnson (far left) and Howard Stern (third from left) participated in the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2012. Johnson recalled the 1998 interview he had with the radio personality prior to release. of a new documentary series called ‘They Call Me Magic’
However, Johnson was not the only person Stern made misplaced comments to during his appearance on the former basketball player’s show.
Stern told the former Laker that he lost many basketball games against the ‘midgets’.
In another segment of the interview, Sirius XM host also walked out of Sheila E., the night show’s bandleader, and commented on her breasts.
‘Sheila, you take your top off. Go and kiss another girl in the band. Give us something lesbian, he said.
Johnson spoke with Variety ahead of the release of a new documentary series about him called ‘They Call Me Magic’, which will be available to watch on Apple + on April 22nd.