Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the Los Angeles Lakers great, was in Tallahassee on Monday lobbying lawmakers about health care coverage.
Johnson, who stunned the sports world in 1991 when he retired after contracting HIV, met with 10 members of the Senate Democratic caucus and later with Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, to advocate for HIV/AIDS coverage and dental coverage in state health care programs.
Johnson is an investor and spokesman for Simply Healthcare Plans Inc., which, along with affiliates, serves more than 200,000 Medicare and Medicaid members in Florida.
“We’re just letting people know Simply has been doing a wonderful job throughout the state of Florida and providing quality health care to a lot of people throughout the state,” Johnson said. “Everything that we said we were going to do four years ago we’ve been doing.”
For lawmakers, Johnson’s appearance also provided some memories of his playing days.
Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, said he hoped Johnson had time for a quick game of one-on-one. Bracy, a shooting guard while starting for the College of William & Mary in Virginia, had to be coaxed into mentioning his college career to Johnson.
Meanwhile, Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, got Johnson to sign a basketball to “Trey,” his son Perry E. Thurston III.