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Magic Johnson speaks on son's coming out

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Magic Johnson laughs as

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Magic Johnson laughs as he pretends to throw the ceremonial first pitch before a season-opening baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in L.A. (April 1, 2013) Credit: AP

Basketball legend Magic Johnson has affirmed his love and support for his 20-year-old son, who came out publicly as gay earlier this week. NYU student Earvin "E.J." Johnson disclosed his sexuality after TMZ posted a photograph of him holding hands with his boyfriend.

"We've known for a long, long time that my son E.J. was gay," the former Los Angeles Lakers star said in a video interview with TMZ Thursday. When the boy was "about 12, 13 years old, 14 years old," Johnson remembered, "we finally had to sit down and talk about it and I told him, 'Look, I'm going to love you regardless. Just let me know: Are you or aren't you?' And then finally he just said, 'Yes, I am.' "

Johnson said he gave his son "the birds and the bees talk" and then, "I told him, 'Hey, we are here to support you, man, we're going to love you no matter who you are, what you do.' . . . and I told him, 'Hey I'm good with it, just be you.' " E.J., he said, gave a sigh of relief "because he really wanted to make sure I was OK. He wasn't worried about his mom, he was worried about me. And once I supported him, then he could talk more about it."

He said he hoped E.J.'s coming out would help others. "I've seen young men who are black who couldn't come out, who couldn't tell their parents, they were fearful," Johnson said, adding, "I think this is going to be good for a lot of black young people who want to come out. He's going to be that . . . symbol of hope that they can now come tell their parents, tell their friends."

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