NBA legend Magic Johnson says he remembers wanting to “hit” the radio personality howard stern after making racist remarks, talking about his HIV and insulting his talk show.
“So many times I’ve wanted to say something and hit it at the same time — on air,” Johnson told Variety in an article published Tuesday. “I was angry when they booked it. … But there’s nothing you can do about it. When people are looking for notes, that’s what happens.
Johnson’s upcoming Apple TV+ series “They Call Me Magic” will hit the streaming platform on April 22. In the docuseries, the star opens up about the tense moment with Stern when the personality visited the former baller’s ’90s talk show “The Magic Show.” Prior to appearing on the show, Stern reportedly continually poked fun at Johnson’s show.
Johnson’s producers ended up booking Stern to come to the show, where he began by praising Johnson for his basketball skills, but added that he thought his show could be better.
“The thing that you have to work on, in my opinion, seriously, is that you have to stop trying to talk like the white man,” Stern told Johnson. “It’s the truth.” He went on to say that Johnson was trained to be “anti-ebonics.”
“I say, let it fly,” Stern said. “Earvin, what you need to do, bro, is really get down to it. Everybody’s trying to get you to talk like the white man. I think this show should relax and you should talk about ebonics all you want. Do you know what I’m saying?”
He continued, “I grew up in a black neighborhood,” Stern continued. “I am darker than you. Trust me. I’m the blackest black man you’ll ever meet, and I’m telling you right now, when I was living in Roosevelt, Long Island, which is a black ghetto, everyone talks like this [pantomiming ebonics]. And I think you should talk like that. Why does everyone have to understand every word you say? Who cares what you have to say?
“I want to know more about your life before HIV,” Stern continued. “You had the life I wanted. You present a clean picture, but I read about these booty parties. Before AIDS, before all that stuff, you had life, didn’t you? You were married but you have to mess around Johnson also corrected Stern, saying he had HIV, not AIDS.
Johnson says that while he was laughing at Stern’s crude jokes, he was angry inside. “I wanted to say something and hit it at the same time – on air,” Johnson said. “I was angry when they booked it, but there’s nothing you can do. When people are looking for notes, that’s what happens.