Magic and Cookie met at a party in 1977 as Michigan State college freshmen
In honor of Cookie Johnson’s 51st birthday, her husband Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson surprised his loving wife with a blow-out birthday party.
“He really got me this time,” she said. “I thought we were going to see Frankie Beverly!” Little did sheknow that Frankie Beverly and Maze, who were performing at the nearby Nokia Theater, would take the stage at her party by night’s end.
It was a moment that many never thought possible, after her superstar basketball playing husband had been diagnosed with the potentially deadly HIVAIDS virus more than two decades ago.After learning about Magic’s illness, the couple was able to emerge from the situation with a stronger bond.
“I don’t know of many women who would have stayed in this situation,” Magic has said reflecting on his resilient wife.
Today they are stronger than ever.I was at the Forum that day and cried as if I was losing a loved one, but it was Magic who reassured the world that not only was he going to be all right and live but he would be great again too.His basketball comeback with the Lakers was short-lived, he starred in another NBA All Star game and won MVP honors, but what he has achieved away from basketball is nothing short of remarkable.
Last week Johnson was busy rescuing the Los Angeles Sparks WNBA team and making a pit stop at the National Action Network Black History Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton.
“I just left downtownbuying the Sparks and I had to come here to show my respect for The Rev. (Al Sharpton) and the honorees,” Johnson said.
Then he was gone, back on his iconic business trail where he is co-owner of the Dodgers among his multi–faceted entrepreneur power empire. In addition to bringing attention to HIVAIDS and becoming a globally respected marvel, he has managed to balance all of that with family. Magic and Cookie met at a party in 1977 as Michigan State college freshmen.
“It was so funny because every girl on campus wanted to meet him,” Cookie recalls of their first encounter.
“I just thought forget it. There’s no way he’s going to pick me over all these other women.”
He did! Today, it’s the sweetest affair of all. Whether Magic and Cookie are beaming with joy during a ceremony honoring Magic with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame along with their children Earvin Jr., Elisa and Andre and Magic’s parents and his father the late Earvin Sr., they are as Frankie Beverly would sang “We Are One!”
When news spread their son E.J. was gay, they gracefully embraced it head on, no apologies with dignity and grace. No Hollywood screenwriter could create a story as remarkable as Cookie and Magic, and no other sports couple could remotely come close to the union they share. It is a model of consistency, privacy, philanthropy and success that is boundless.
“There was a lot of breaking up and getting back together, a lot of ups and downs. We’ve been through everything together,” Cookie has said.