Photo: Courtesy of ABC News
(ABC NEWS) -- Magic Johnson's support for his openly gay son is being applauded.
"In the midst of all this media attention i would like to say that i am truly blessed to have parents that love and support me," Earvin Johnson III, one of the former L.A. Lakers star's three children with wife Cookie, tweeted earlier today.
EJ, as he is known, was photographed Tuesday, hand-in-hand with his boyfriend.
In a statement to TMZ, his basketball legend father said, "Cookie and I love E.J. and support him in every way. We're very proud of him."
Current Lakers star Kobe Bryant praised Johnson for his statement while pointing out that it shouldn't be surprising.
"Of course Magic is supportive of and loves his son. Why should anyone be surprised?" Bryant told TMZ. "What I can't tolerate is a lack of tolerance."
While not unusual coming from a parent, Johnson's statement did make headlines because of his stature in the sporting world, where openly gay athletes are still rare.
Since revealing he was HIV-positive in 1991, Magic, the new co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has become a longtime supporter of the LGBT community. In 2008, he rallied against the same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8.
His son, E.J., 20, is currently a student at New York University.