(CNN) — Magic Johnson loves his kids, no matter whom his kids choose to love.
The 53-year-old basketball legend and co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers said as much to TMZ after the celebrity website posted a video of Johnson’s son, Earvin Johnson III, out in Los Angeles with his reported boyfriend.
The video depicts 20-year-old Earvin, who goes by E.J., walking along Sunset Boulevard hand-in-hand with an unidentified gentleman. E.J., a New York University student who’s one of Johnson’s three kids, didn’t discuss his sexuality or his companion in the video, whom TMZ refers to as his boyfriend. Instead, he chatted about the Dodgers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Nevertheless, Magic Johnson told the website that he and his wife Cookie stand behind their son 100 percent.
“Cookie and I love E.J. and support him in every way,” he said. “We’re very proud of him.”
Johnson’s remark has reverberated through the sports world and beyond, particularly in light of recent events. Former NFL player Kwame Harris recently confirmed he was gay in an interview with CNN, hoping his acknowledgement would help other athletes be open about their sexuality. That’s a tough battle in an era where there aren’t any openly gay athletes currently playing in any of the four major male professional sports.
To that end, Johnson’s unconditional support of his son is being seen as another opportunity for the legend to promote acceptance, and it turns out he’s not alone in that effort. NBA star Kobe Bryant told TMZ that he not only wasn’t surprised by Johnson’s remarks about E.J., but that he appreciates it his openness.
“Of course Magic is supportive of and loves his son,” Bryant said. “Why should anyone be surprised? What I can’t tolerate is a lack of tolerance.”