Magic Johnson to parents: Tell children 'it's not a time to be a tough guy’ with police

"When I see a police car, I still get nervous and I have to, you know, do everything the right way to make sure, first, I don't get pulled over, second, if I do get pulled over, my hands are on the steering wheel," said Johnson.

Image
Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Updated: September 14, 2020 - 10:37pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Videos

Magic Johnson is advising parents to have "tough conversations" with their children about the police and advise them to put their "guard down. "It's not a time to be a tough guy" with officers and act like "you're not going to take crap from somebody," the NBA legend says.

Johnson was asked by California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters if he had advice for parents concerned about children interacting with police.

"When I see a police car, I still get nervous, and I have to, you know, do everything the right way to make sure, first, I don't get pulled over, second, if I do get pulled over, my hands are on the steering wheel. I'm going to abide by the commands, and I'm going to try to do everything the right way. Any instructions that they give me, I'm going to make sure I comply with those instructions," Johnson said in a conversation with Waters on Monday as part of the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.

"Make sure whether it's a father or mother, you have those tough conversations with your son and your daughter as well, and make sure you help them understand that listen, it's not a time to be a tough guy — you're not going to take it from the police or you're not going to take crap from somebody — you have to put your guard down and just do what you're supposed to do to be here a long time," he added.

Johnson, CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, described today's environment as "tough times" because "police brutality is running rapid through our country, especially with black men and black women."

"We've got to somehow bring a stop to that, but we have to also dialogue with our family to make sure we protect them, keep them safe," Johnson said. "And I'm so happy that my father had those tough conversations just like I had to have with my sons. I look forward to continuing to be a voice in the black community, and try to be one of the leaders in the black community; that's never going to change."

Johnson said he hopes that one day "we don't have to have these conversations about people disrespecting the black community and that we can just live free and we don't have to be scared about the moves that we make or our actions."

The former Los Angeles Lakers star also weighed in on the violence that occurred amid police brutality protests in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.

"I'm really just mad that we have to sit here and see so many unarmed young black men and women getting killed and also too that they tried to say that through the protests that, you know, we were vandalizing,” Johnson said. "In the beginning, yes, it was some of that, but at the end, it was all peaceful. They were great young people out there protesting, and they had a right to do that. And so, it was all colors. It just wasn't black. It was all colors."