NBA legend Magic Johnson says he knew his youngest son, Earvin "EJ" Johnson, 20, was gay "for years" before he finally had "the talk" with him.
In an emotional interview with gossip website TMZ.com, Johnson, 53, said he and his wife Cookie confronted EJ about his sexuality when the boy was only 12.
"We've known for a long time that my son EJ was gay," Johnson said. "We finally had to sit down and talk about it. I told him, 'Look, I'm gonna love you regardless, just let me know. Are you, or aren't you?' And finally he said, 'Yes, I am.'"
Johnson said he was emotional about his son's admission because he was so young.
"I told him, 'We are here to support you. We are gonna love no matter who you are, what you do. We just want you to love yourself and also make sure that you have all the information,'" said Johnson.
Johnson, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and is a staunch supporter of the LGBT community, said EJ was nervous about coming out to him.
"He really wanted to make sure I was okay. He wasn't worried about his mom, he was worried about me." Those fears were unfounded. "I love EJ so much. That's my main man. I told him, 'Nothing has changed.'"
But Johnson is concerned about the negative reactions from professional athletes and others in the black community.
"It bothers me that they're discriminating against anybody who's gay," he said. "I've been in the gay movement for a long time because of HIV and AIDS. I see young men who are black who couldn't come out, who couldn't tell their parents, their neighbors. So now, it's my son," he said.
He added: "This is the year 2013 --- we should stop discriminating against people," Johnson argued. "And that's what I'm gonna do with my son. But I'll also support others. This is gonna be good for a lot of black young people."
"It's unfortunate that we have to go through some of this negative stuff. But it's not gonna change me, it's not gonna change my son and the way I love him. If people can't understand it, that's on them."
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Photos: Splash News Online