The Nba legend guest of Fabio Fazio: “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar always made me turn down the music, Bird is my idol but the rivalry was real. And what challenges under the basket with Obama …”
The constant is the smile, whatever the topic is. From the anecdotes with Abdul-Jabbar and Bird to his fight which in the 1990s was decisive in raising awareness of HIV among the masses. “Call me Magic for tonight,” says Earvin Johnson jr. to Fabio Fazio, who asks him how he should address him during the interview with What’s the weather likethe talk show broadcast on Rai Tre.
Commitment to HIV-positive people
The announcement of HIV-positive status and all that derived from it is the most delicate topic of the conversation: “It was my most difficult match, in 1991 there was discrimination. The treatments were not adequate, but we managed to change many of these things, improving them. We have provided housing to the people who had it, stopping discrimination, racism and everything that entails, educating the whole world and I believe that today things are much better “. The famous American immunologist Anthony Fauci took the opportunity to thank him for his fundamental contribution. A contribution made of iconic gestures, such as participation in the All-Star Game 1992, which made many turn up their noses but served to “demonstrate, thanks to the possibility that commissioner David Stern gave me, that you can live a normal life and productive even as a carrier of HIV. It was great for me and for the world. ”
Magic then told the bond with the family, in particular with the father who gave up a professional career in basketball to raise his family: “He sacrificed so much for me, he had to leave the sport for us and now it’s up to me to reward him. and repay him, allowing him to stop working to enjoy life and me, who have reached these levels. Now he is 88 years old and I bought him a beautiful house, every day I thank him because he has meant so much to me, as a father, as a hero, mentor and probably best friend “. The responsibilities arising from such an important nickname were immediately clear. “Receiving him was a great joy, I realized I had to live up to this name on the pitch. I had to win to prove he was really fit, I had to become a champion and that’s what happened,” he continued.
Upon his arrival at the Lakers in 1979, his youthful exuberance collided with Abdul-Jabbar’s austere attitude: “Kareem and I were very different, I was almost 20 years old and I really liked loud music, while he was quiet, quiet. He listened to jazz and I had my stereo on full blast. He always told me to turn the music down, but in the end we became very good friends. He was the most dominant player in the league, we won the championship in the first year for that. and why I managed to become the leader of that team. ” The rivalry with Larry Bird was memorable, also because the two later became great friends: “I think that, when we arrived in the NBA, we changed the game, making it more popular. We played memorable games. For Larry I have always had great respect, it’s always He was one of my idols, but as an opponent I didn’t like him and neither did the Celtics fans. It was an intense rivalry. And it was a good moment knowing that Bird’s mom liked how I played. I convinced Larry and Jordan to play in the Dream Team. at the Barcelona Olympics, it was a dream for me to be their partner. That team opened the world to basketball in my opinion and that’s why basketball and NBA specifically have become so international. ”
TO THE WHITE HOUSE
The level of stardom made him often a welcome guest of the White House, where he shared many joking moments with various US presidents. But his favorite is Barack Obama: “He’s the one I had the most fun with, even at the Christmas parties he threw. A moment I remember well is when Beyoncé performed in front of the President and the First Lady. I have to admit she is a good player, we played a few games in the White House and he too is left-handed, he’s good and I appreciate him a lot as a person. I, on the other hand, when I was a child, got up at five in the morning and my neighbors went crazy because I dribbled and wanted to sleep before going to work, I woke them up. The field was two blocks from home, in the White House the field is nearby, in another building. He invited former NBA players and current players and we played together, then we went back and we did a barbecue in the garden “. Magic has never made a secret of adoring Italy to spend the holidays. So he wanted to say a warm thank you, before saying goodbye. “For over thirty years I have been going to Italy in the summer, where I find wonderful people and food. My wife and I are in love with Portofino, Porto Cervo, Forte dei Marmi, Capri. I take this opportunity to show my gratitude to everyone”. With the usual splendid smile.
October 30 – 10:52 pm
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