Skip to main content

Magic Johnson almost had a"Will Smith moment" with Howard Stern: "I was mad when they booked him"

Magic Johnson admitted wanting to hit Howard Stern for mentioning the color of his skin and health condition.
Magic Johnson almost had a "Will Smith moment" with Howard Stern

Magic Johnson and Howard Stern almost got into it because of Stern's comments

Magic Johnson had his own Will Smith moment when TV personality Howard Stern was invited as a guest in his "The Magic Hour" show in 1998. Things suddenly took a turn for the worse as the show progressed, and if Magic slapped Stern for his offensive jokes, everyone could have defended him for doing so.

Howard Stern on The Magic Hour

Johnson knew it would be an interesting show with Howard Stern with his impulsiveness and penchant for pushing people to the edge. But as Magic said, it was part of the package of getting a controversial guest in hopes of increasing the ratings of the show.

Stern had been critical of Johnson in his past interviews, and when the two met, Howard cited his problem with Johnson being a Black host.

"I'm blacker than you are. Trust me. I'm the blackest black man you'll ever meet, and I'm telling you right now, when I lived in Roosevelt, Long Island, which is a black ghetto, everyone talks like this [pantomiming ebonics]. And I think you should talk like that. Why does everyone need to understand every word you're saying? Who cares what you've got to say?"

If that wasn't heated enough, Howard mentioned Magic's health condition, a very personal and sensitive subject to discuss.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"You had the life I wanted. These were White chicks? Black chicks? What do we got? What did you prefer? So you would have sex with everybody? At least you had fun getting AIDS."

The Lakers legend corrected his guest that what he had was HIV and not AIDS. Johnson laughed at all the jokes thrown at him but admitted in Apple TV docuseries "They call me Magic" that he had to restrain himself from hitting Howard.

"I wanted to say something and hit him at the same time — on air. I was mad when they booked him, but there's nothing you can do."

Magic Johnson's Will Smith moment

What happened was eerily similar to the Will Smith incident at the Oscars. Magic had every right to stand up for himself and slap Howard. It could have been a justified behavior, but he chose not to.

Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock after making jokes about the health condition of his wife, Jada-Pinkett Smith. The world had different opinions on the incident. Some defended Will's actions, while others called it assault and how he should have addressed the matter differently with Rock.

That's the thing with live TV. You don't know what happens next. But Magic deserves credit for taking it all in stride. He could have resorted to violence, but he chose not to. That's one of the characteristics of maturity: not letting emotions take over rational thinking. 

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings goes off on the state of the NBA - “It’s only a couple of guys in the NBA that love the game”

Jennings' opinions are certainly divisive, but it's clear that without change the NBA would get stale, and that's why it's necessary to continue exploring ways to evolve the game

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan’s secret tattoo and the meaning behind it revealed

It's barely visible and not something MJ liked to talk about.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

Zach Snyder on directing Michael Jordan in "Playground" — “He’s a natural.”

One went on to make Space Jam, the other 300, Justice League, Army of the Dead, Man of Steel, Watchmen, and Dawn of the Dead. Two great movie careers, starting in 1990.

Miami Heat forward LeBron James and team president Pat Riley

The moment Pat Riley should've known LeBron James would one day leave Miami

Upon his arrival to Miami, LeBron made a request that should've let Riley know a new era was coming.

Dennis Rodman

How Dennis Rodman's gay bar double-date led to the Chicago Bulls winning the 1996 NBA Championship

Remember Jack Haley? It turns out he was crucial for the Bulls winning in 1996 because he was “the only person who speaks fluent Rodman,” and knew how to convince Dennis not to quit the team before Game 6 of the Finals.

Detroit Pistons center Bill Laimbeer and guard Isiah Thomas

“I don't need to take that s**t!” — when Isiah Thomas broke his hand after punching Bill Laimbeer

Isiah Thomas punched Bill Laimbeer so hard he broke his hand during one of Detroit Pistons' practices.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

“I don’t know if I could’ve survived in this Twitter (era)” — Michael Jordan on social media and cancel culture

There's no hand-checking and hard fouls in 2022. But there's Twitter, political correctness and almost no privacy whatsoever.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Remember when KCP played with an ankle monitor?

In terms of serving time, continuing to play games while in prison is not that bad.