When Magic Johnson’s wife gave him a condition for his NBA return

Magic Johnson’s wife, Cookie Johnson, stayed by his side following his shocking HIV infection in 1991. The Hall of Famer point guard was forced into early retirement at just 31 years old, fresh from his ninth NBA Finals in 12 seasons with the LA Lakers.

When he found his illness would not get worse, Magic joined the “Dream Team” for the 1992 Olympics. That experience gave him the itch to return to the Lakers and prompted Cookie to give him an ultimatum.

During a press conference, Johnson shared some insights into his conversations with his wife, stating:

“My wife said to me, ‘That’s it, one [season] and go away or she will leave me. Cookie used to tell me I’d come back, ‘there’s no way you train three times a day and you don’t come back, you can’t tell me.’ I said, “You haven’t given me your okay yet,” so I bribed her. I gave her a million dollars.”

His wife interjected:

“It was much more than that.”

Magic Johnson eventually returned to the LA Lakers at the age of 36 for 32 games in the 1995-1996 season after missing four seasons. The five-time NBA champion averaged 14.6 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game and 6.9 assists per game. During his career, the three-time NBA MVP averaged 19.5 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, and an NBA-record 11.2 assists per game.

Check out Magic Johnson’s highlights below:

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Who is Magic Johnson’s wife, Cookie Johnson?

Magic Johnson and his wife Cookie met in 1978 as college students at Michigan State University. Cookie graduated with a bachelor’s degree in textiles and clothing. Although Cookie met him in 1978, he didn’t become Magic Johnson’s wife until 1991. Aside from being married to the NBA legend, Cookie is an author, fashion designer and entrepreneur. She is also on the board of directors of the Magic Johnson Foundation, which she co-founded with the LA Lakers star.

Check out Magic Johnson’s Instagram post celebrating 30 years of marriage to Cookie Johnson:

Magic Johnson’s wife talks about how she found out he had HIV

Much of the world was shocked when Magic Johnson revealed he had contracted HIV. At the time, the virus was considered a death sentence and many feared the worst for the LA Lakers star. He has revealed his wife Cookie has been helping him maintain his strength in the fight against the virus. She shared her perspective Good morning America Robin Roberts as saying:

“It scared me to death. I mean I fell to my knees. We both fell on our knees and started crying. He said, ‘If you want to go, you know I don’t blame you. It’s OK. I understand.’ Then I said, “Are you kidding me? No. I love you. I’ll stay here and help you live. I’ll stay here and we’ll beat this thing. We’ll figure out how to do it.” Hit that thing.”

Watch Magic Johnson’s wife talk about finding out about his HIV diagnosis:

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Edited by Caleb Gebrewold


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