Retired NBA legend Magic Johnson on Tuesday debunked a social media post that claimed he had donated blood to patients who had contracted COVID-19. According to CBS Sports, the post in question was shared on Twitter by a parody account.
The post, which was shared with a photo of Johnson, claimed the 63-year-old “donated some of his blood to the Red Cross to help underprivileged communities help fight COVID-19.” The photo showed a doctor drawing Johnson’s blood while he was seated.
But in a tweet on Tuesday, the former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star denied he had donated blood. “I’m aware of the false story circling the internet and to be clear, I have never donated blood,” Johnson posted.
The Associated Press also fact-checked the claim and reported that the photo in question was taken in 2012 for a documentary titled, “Endgame: AIDS in Black America.” Johnson, who has HIV, was said to be having his blood drawn by a doctor when the image was taken. The NBA champion wasn’t donating blood, per the report.
The American Red Cross does not allow HIV-positive patients to donate blood.
In 1991, Johnson held a press conference to announce he had tested positive for HIV. And though he also announced he was retiring from the NBA, he later changed his mind and returned.
Johnson is regarded as one of the best point guards in NBA history. He’s a Hall of Fame inductee and a five-time NBA champion. He was also crowned the NBA Finals MVP on three separate occasions. The 63-year-old retired in 1996.
He has since gone ahead to build a solid business conglomerate.