Magic Johnson Shuts Down 'False Story' He Donated Blood at the Red Cross

The photo — previously published by NPR in 2012 — actually shows the Lakers legend getting his blood drawn by his doctor Dr. David Ho

magic johnson
Photo: RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Earvin "Magic" Johnson on Tuesday responded to unfounded online rumors he donated blood to COVID-19 patients.

The 63-year-old NBA icon, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1991, responded to the allegation after a since-deleted tweet claimed that he was donating "his blood to the Red Cross to help underprivileged communities to help fight COVID-19."

"I'm aware of the false story circling the internet and to be clear, I have never donated blood," he tweeted.

The erroneous tweet showed Johnson sitting in a chair with a medical needle in his arm. The Associated Press reported the image was from the 2012 PBS Frontline documentary, Endgame: AIDS in Black America.

The photo — previously published by NPR in 2012 — actually shows the Lakers legend getting his blood drawn by his doctor Dr. David Ho, not donating blood to the Red Cross during the pandemic, according to the documentary.

The Red Cross prohibits individuals who are HIV positive from donating blood, according to the organization's eligibility criteria.

Last November, Magic marked 30 years of living with HIV. In a statement on Twitter, the former NBA superstar noted that it has been three decades since he revealed his health diagnosis to the world in a 1991 press conference.

"God has really blessed me!" he began his tweet. "Today marks 30 years living with HIV so the message resonated with me in such a tremendous way."

"I thank the Lord for keeping me, giving me strength, and guiding me for 62 years but especially the last 30," Magic then added alongside a prayer emoji.

Last year, Magic and wife Cookie also opened up about the impact the diagnosis had on their relationship in an interview with CBS Mornings' Gayle King.

Magic said telling his wife about his HIV diagnosis was the "toughest" thing he's ever had to do.

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"It was hard because I loved her so much, and I hated to hurt her," Magic told King. "I've played against some of the best basketball players in the world, right? I've been in championships. I've been in nine [NBA] Finals, so I know pressure. But there was no greater pressure than driving home to tell her."

Magic said HIV was undetectable at the time, though he still took a "cocktail once a day" of medications to help keep it under control. "Everything is great," he said.

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