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Magic and Cookie Johnson Vow to Carry On Elizabeth Taylor’s Legacy As HIV/AIDS Activists: ‘This Is Where Our Heart Is’

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Magic Johnson is no less ambitious than he was when he was winning championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. Johnson is always seeking out new business ventures, having recently become part owner of the Washington Commanders and Los Angeles Dodgers.

But amidst these new endeavors, Johnson’s dedication to HIV/AIDS advocacy has never wavered. At the 4th annual Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End AIDS held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Magic and his wife Cookie Johnson were presented with the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award, named for the late actress who used her platform to fight for awareness for the disease.

Taylor and the Johnsons were very close and worked together as advocates before her death. “This is where our heart is,” Magic Johnson said of the honor. “We’ve been raising money and awareness, we’ve been educating people about HIV and AIDS, we’ve been caring for people, making sure they had housing.

All those things are important to us. We’ve worked with [Elizabeth] so much…in the past so it’s an honor for Cookie and I.” Cookie Johnson praised her husband for leading by example and inspiring others considering the climate and conditions he faced ahead. “To be someone in a high profile situation and be able to go out and be brave enough to stand up against HIV and AIDS, especially in 1991 — To be strong enough to do that, I think that made a big difference and a lot of people follow suit,” Cookie Johnson said.

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