The Real Reason Magic Johnson Once Wanted To Hurt Howard Stern

Earvin "Magic" Johnson is one of the NBA's greatest players, having won five championships during the '80s. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire from the sport that made him a legend in 1991 after he announced he tested positive for HIV, according to History. The news sent shockwaves around the sports world as Johnson became one of the first star athletes to go public with his status.

Though many believed that Johnson's career would suffer greatly due to the stigma associated with HIV at the time, he actually managed to turn his retirement into a lucrative business empire, earning millions from his ventures in sports, insurance, media, and food services, per Forbes. However, not all of Johnson's ventures were successful. Johnson tried his hand at hosting a talk show called "The Magic Hour" in 1998, but the show would only be remembered for one thing — Howard Stern's appearance — which created one of the most awkward moments in television history because of offensive comments he made. While over two decades have passed since the two were on-air together, Johnson has now revealed in a new interview that he actually wanted to hurt Stern for his comments.

Magic Johnson wanted to hit Howard Stern

When Magic Johnson invited Howard Stern on "The Magic Show," in 1998, he wanted to understand why the comedian repeatedly made fun of him on his radio show. Instead of getting the answer though, Stern repeatedly made fun of Johnson's hosting skills, the way he spoke, and his HIV diagnosis, according to Vulture. At one point in the segment, Stern said Johnson must have "had fun getting AIDS." While Stern's comments were criticized by the media, his appearance would be the only memorable part of the show's entire run. Johnson too thought he went overboard and wanted to retaliate on air. 

"So many times, I wanted to say something and hit him at the same time — on air," Johnson told Variety, saying he was forced to interview Stern because producers wanted to increase ratings. "I was mad when they booked him," he added. "But there's nothing you can do. When people look for ratings, this is what happens." Johnson went on to say that he hasn't spoken to Stern since inviting him on the show nearly 25 years ago. "It is what it is. I learned a lot from that," he reflected. "I've never put myself — or HIV and AIDS, or my race — in that position again, ever again."