It turns out Magic Johnson has never put a ring on it.
Magic Johnson, keeper of five NBA championships, remains so paranoid about losing his five precious NBA championship rings that he’s never worn them. Not when he’s admiring them in a private moment. Not when he’s around his former teammates. Not even when the Lakers were presented with the rings on opening night the following season.
In an upcoming appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s self-named network airing Sunday at 9 p.m. Johnson divulges to the famed talk-show host his fear of the bling.
“I don’t wear jewelry. I put them there on purpose,” Johnson said, pointing to a championship shrine in his Los Angeles home. “My family bought me a watch when I was in junior high. I was out playing baskettball and I left it there. I went back and it was gone. I said that’s it, ‘I’m never going to wear jewelry again.’”
Those marked one of the many topics Johnson discussed with Winfrey. The famed Laker also touched on how he broke the news to his teammates in 1991 that he had tested positive for HIV and later in a press conference. Plenty presumed Johnson was simply a dead man walking. But 22 years later, Johnson’s still surviving and has become a key advocate for through his self-named foundation in raising AIDS and HIV awareness through education, treatment and research. That’s included aiding 135 million people through community grants, education, scholarships, clinics and adding mobile testing units.
Meanwhile, Johnson has still maintained to live a full life. He’s become a part of the ownership group that runs the Dodgers. Johnson owns several businesses. He’s lived to see his son, E.J., grow up and has supported him in his recent public revelation that he’s gay.
Clearly, Johnson’s not afraid of handling adversity and tackling many projects. But he’s still worried about losing jewelry, an understandable phobia considering his storied career with the Lakers involved collecting plenty of it.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org