Magic Johnson opened up about how he found out his son EJ was gay, his take on the black community’s reception of homosexuality and the future of gay athletes in an interview with TMZ.

“We’ve known for a long long time that my son EJ is gay,” Magic revealed. The former professional basketball player initiated the conversation about his son’s sexuality, asking EJ about it up front. At the time, EJ was in his early teens. “Always talk to me, always talk to your mother,” Magic said he had told his son. “We’ll help you along the way.”

When asked about the African American blogs that expressed anti-gay sentiments towards his son, Magic acknowledged disappointment, but said, “I told [EJ] once he comes out, he’s going to have to face this.” Magic, who’s deeply involved in the African American community and is a regular churchgoer, believes that religion plays a strong factor for those within his community who have said unkind things about his son — but he believes that progress is being made.

Magic firmly believes that EJ's coming out will serve to encourage other young gay men and women, black or otherwise, to come out. He also believes that since EJ is a son of a man with significant stature in the athletics community that it could hearten gay athletes to be open as well. “This is going to be bigger than you,” Magic said he told EJ. “You’re going to have an impact.”

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