Magic Johnson (left) and son E.J. and his boyfriend in Los Angeles
Timothy Hiatt/Getty; X17 Online
04/04/2013 AT 12:00 PM EDT
04/04/2013 AT 09:55 AM EDT
For Magic Johnson, supporting his gay son Earvin Johnson III, known as "E.J.," wasn't even a question. But Magic knew that for E.J., coming out to his parents, which happened years ago, was just the first step.
"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. We just want you to love yourself,' " the NBA legend, 53, tells TMZ.com
in a new video.
It was six or seven years ago that Magic and E.J. had that talk. And Magic remembers asking E.J. at the time: "What do you think about what your friends and [other] people are going to say once you tell them? Or have you told anybody?"
Turns out E.J. had told only his two closest friends. But this week, at age 20, E.J. came out publicly – walking hand in hand with his boyfriend on the Sunset Strip.
To Magic, it's just as great a moment, if not more so, than when E.J. came out to him and his wife Cookie.
"I love E.J. so much, that's my main man," Magic says. "I think he really wanted to be out. But he was torn. ... He just didn't know how. He just said, 'This is my moment. This is my time. I'm happy to share with the world who I am.' And I said, 'Go, E.J., go.' "
He adds: "This is a good moment for us as a family, and a greater moment for him. Now he's just the bubbly kid we knew again. ... I'm behind him a million percent. This is really wonderful for him."