NBA legend Magic Johnson has shut down rumors that he donated blood to the Red Cross after a post from a parody account sparked headlines.
“Earlier today, NBA legend Magic Johnson donated some of his blood to the Red Cross to help underprivileged communities help fight COVID-19,” falsely claimed the now-viral tweet.
While some Twitter users indicated the tweet was obviously fake news coming from the satire account, others expressed concern while questioning if the tweet was true.
Johnson took to Twitter Tuesday to address the claims.
“I’m aware of the false story circling the internet, and to be clear, I have never donated blood,” Johnson tweeted.
I’m aware of the false story circling the internet, and to be clear, I have never donated blood.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) August 23, 2022
The image in question is reportedly a screengrab from the 2012 documentary “Endgame: AIDS in Black America” that the former Laker appears in and discusses his diagnosis and how it affected his sports career. In the specific scene where the image was pulled from, Johnson is getting his blood routinely drawn at a doctor’s appointment, not donating blood.
This isn’t the first time the image was used in a viral post. In 2013, the same photo was used to falsely claim Johnson was donating blood to leukemia and lymphoma patients.
Johnson, who led the Lakers to five NBA championships, announced his retirement from basketball in 1991 after testing positive for HIV. He returned to the NBA twice before officially hanging up his jersey in 1996. He’s since become an advocate for HIV awareness and prevention.