Magic Johnson is now promoting Obamacare.
The White House released a video Wednesday that features the Los Angeles Lakers legend, businessman, and part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers urging Americans to enroll in health care programs through the law, lest they end up blindsided by a health crisis like the one that struck him two decades ago.
Johnson’s HIV diagnosis shook the sports world in 1991, when he was about to start his 13th season with the Lakers. It came as a result of a routine physical and screening process, and Johnson drew on that experience to tout other benefits of the law.
“What I’m really excited about is the fact that now every kid can go get their shots, get their check-ups, their physicals. Parents can go get their physicals,” he says in the video. “Early detection can save people’s lives. I’m living proof of that.”
Johnson also drew on his unanticipated health crisis to push young Americans to enroll in the law. “Affordable health care is important to me because everybody deserves to have good health care. And when you think about it, it saved my life,” Johnson says. “If it wasn’t for that quality health care that I have, and that plan that I had, I probably would have been dead.”
“You never know when you’re going to need it,” Johnson says. “Young people, they think they’re Superman, like nothing is ever going to happen to them. But trust me, one day something is going to happen and you’re going to need a quality health plan. So make sure you get Obamacare.”
That push for young, healthy enrollees is central to the success of Obamacare, which has so far enrolled 2.2 million people through the law’s private health exchanges. By turning to Johnson, the White House is clearly aiming for that demographic — as well as at minority communities that make up sizable portions of the NBA fan base and also stand to benefit from the law. It has attempted to use sports to promote the law before, as teams like the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Ravens, and Pittsburgh Steelers all signed on to promote enrollment. Johnson’s video, according to Yahoo, will soon be converted into an advertisement that will run on ESPN, ABC, and TNT during NBA broadcasts.