Johnson, 60, urged others to try and be educated on the issue.
“The same issues we had then, we have now, where bad information, myth about ‘it couldn’t happen to us in the black community,’ not being educated enough about HIV and AIDS,” Johnson told ESPN via phone Wednesday morning. “The same thing [is happening] with the coronavirus.”
Johnson added that one of his childhood friends is currently in the hospital due to the coronavirus.
In an attempt to increase awareness among the African American community, Johnson has partnered with the NBA in its fight against the coronavirus. Johnson will appear in PSAs and be present at virtual town-hall meetings in an attempt to increase awareness among the black community. Research has shown African Americans are being killed by the virus at a higher rate.
Johnson — who was found to be HIV positive before the 1991 NBA season — has attempted to educate others about HIV since his diagnosis. While coronavirus is a different virus, Johnson believes he can make a difference.
The NBA was among the first sport in the United States to completely shut down as a result of coronavirus. The league suspended play after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. In March, the league created the NBA Together program to “support, engage, educate and inspire” others during the coronavirus pandemic.