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Magic Johnson wanted to hit Howard Stern after shock jock said, 'at least you had fun getting AIDS'

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 4/5/2022 Scooby Axson, USA TODAY
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Magic Johnson says he wanted to hit popular disc jockey Howard Stern after Stern made comments about his HIV-diagnosis during Johnson's brief stint as a late night talk show host. 

The infamous "The Magic Hour" was the Hall of Famer's foray into entertainment after he retired for a second time from the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996.

"The Magic Hour" which began in 1998, was canceled after three months amid low ratings and after critics, including Stern, ripped the show. 

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The show's producers invited Stern on the show as a guest. It did not go well. 

“So many times, I wanted to say something and hit him at the same time — on air,” Johnson said to Variety, adding he hasn't talked to Stern since that day.  “I was mad when they booked him. But there’s nothing you can do. When people look for ratings, this is what happens.”

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 12: Documentary series subject Earvin "Magic" Johnson attends the "They Call Me Magic" premiere during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at ZACH Theatre on March 12, 2022 in Austin, Texas. © Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 12: Documentary series subject Earvin "Magic" Johnson attends the "They Call Me Magic" premiere during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at ZACH Theatre on March 12, 2022 in Austin, Texas.

“It is what it is. I learned a lot from that. I’ve never put myself — or HIV and AIDS, or my race — in that position again, ever again."

The interview with Stern went off the rails from the start. 

“Let’s get right to it,” Johnson said. “Why have you been talking about me so much, man?”

Stern then explained his criticism before proclaiming that he was "Blackest Black man you’ll ever meet."

"I’m Blacker than you are, trust me," Stern said. "And I’m telling you right now, when I lived in Roosevelt, Long Island, which is a Black ghetto, everybody talked like this,” 

The conversation then quickly turned to Johnson and HIV.

“You had the life I wanted,” Stern said. "These were white chicks? Black chicks? What do we got? What did you prefer? You would have sex with everybody? At least you had fun getting AIDS.”

Johnson then corrected Stern, saying he had HIV, not AIDS.

Johnson has a new docuseries called “They Call Me Magic,” that premieres April 22 on Apple+, which discusses his life and playing career. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Magic Johnson wanted to hit Howard Stern after shock jock said, 'at least you had fun getting AIDS'

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