Where Is Magic Johnson’s Son Andre Now?

If Season 1 of Winning Time was the party, then Season 2 is the consequential hangover. And that hangover is just getting started for HBO, which just dropped the first of seven episodes in the second season of the ’80s Lakers mockumentary series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. What’s readily apparent is that everyone is still learning how to play their position, both on and off the court.

The season premiere throws us into a mob of angry Boston Celtics fans pelting the Lakers’ team bus with beer and whatever other fluids they could throw following the Lakers’ win in Game 1 of the 1984 NBA Finals in Boston. It’s a flash-forward moment that sets us four years after the events of Season 1, when the Lakers hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1980 NBA Finals. Once we return to the present of summer 1980, the duration of the hour-long episode includes Lakers owner Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly) trying to buy players’ loyalty with expensive contracts and building his family empire by including his sons Jim (McCabe Slye) and Johnny (Thomas Mann) in basketball decisions. Coach Paul Westhead (Jason Segel) tries to assert himself as the sole authority on the team by convincing players to buy into his “system” of playcalling. Whether it’s the pecking order of NBA teams, the hierarchy within the team, or the power distribution in the family business, Season 2 starts with people carving out their own spots with no intention of being forgotten.

winning time season 2


But before all that drama, the first conflict we’re introduced to is a somewhat existential threat to the business of Magic Johnson (Quincy Isaiah). Early on, we find out Magic’s sexual promiscuity, documented in explicit detail in Season 1, has come back to give him a reality check in the form of a son. The writers and creators of Winning Time have made it clear that the series isn’t meant to be a documentary, read as a completely factual retelling of the Showtime Lakers era of the ’80s; rather to take things with somewhat of a grain of salt. Regarding Magic’s first child, Winning Time offers more insights into those early days than anything Magic himself has given us in decades.

Who is Andre Johnson?

In Winning Time‘s Season 2 premiere, although the child is never referred to as Andre, he’s portrayed as a turning point in Magic’s maturation and a potential hindrance to his superstardom. In the episode, Magic wasn’t bustling with joy when his lawyer and agent informed him that Rhonda Mitchell (Chelsea M. Davis) was pregnant with his child and planning on keeping it. He denied the child was his, due to his expert pregnancy avoidance skills that he felt were good enough for his sexual dalliances not to result in offspring.

winning time season 2 magic johnson

Warrick Page/HBO//HBO

At first, Magic and his advisors were aligned on drafting a settlement and burying the child’s identity in the interest of his squeaky-clean public image that garnered him endorsement deals from Buick and 7-Up. The payment would’ve erased Andre from Magic’s life by offering Rhonda financial compensation for never speaking about Magic fathering her child or having the child bear Magic’s last name. But, once his cutthroat manager explains it as “being like the child never existed,” the people-pleaser in Johnson tugged at his heart, and he remarked how cold that course of action would be to a child. But that doesn’t mean he wanted to be a father yet.

The rest of his decision-making in the episode comes down to a few key moments: post-coital conversations about relative morality between him and his lawyer, a verbal lashing from his traditionalist mother and father about stepping up and being a man, and one of the most heartfelt phone calls between him and Cookie Keely (Tamera Tomakili), the love of his life. After it all, Magic decides to visit Rhonda in the hospital after she’s given birth—and accept the child into his and his family’s life. As with the series as a whole, the real Magic Johnson’s recollection of Andre’s introduction to his life is vastly different from HBO’s dramatized version.

screening of "hoodlum"

Ron Galella//Getty Images

In his Apple TV docuseries, They Call Me Magic, the Hall of Fame icon dedicated a few minutes in the second episode to address the ramifications of his fathering Andre. Unlike in Winning Time, Andre’s mother’s name is actually Melissa Mitchell, not Rhonda Mitchell. Also, Magic’s recollection doesn’t begin until after his 26th birthday in 1985, when he abruptly introduced Cookie to his then-4 1/2-year-old son. The show’s depiction found Cookie knowing about Andre in the summer of 1980. Magic does mention he “found out later he was mine,” alluding to initially being unsure of being Andre’s father. But he doesn’t go into any detail about his decision-making process as the 21-year-old face of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Over the years, Magic has been selectively public about his firstborn son, though they’ve appeared together on red carpets and at movie premieres. But, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any quotes from Magic on Andre’s place in his family, Melissa Mitchell, or if he ever considered abandoning his child.

What is Andre Johnson doing now?

While Andre and Magic haven’t had an extensive public father-son relationship, Magic has not tried to keep his son out of his life. In a 2011 interview with Men’s Health, the then-30-year-old discussed his relationship with his father. Andre credits his father with helping him develop his sense of style, including bringing him to his first tailor at age 21. At one point, Andre worked for his father’s investment company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, interviewing prospective clients. He’s since followed in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps.

Recently, Andre became an executive vice president of business development at the digital sports league SimWin Sports. He also co-hosted the podcast Please Elaborate with Mike Dupree, but there haven’t been any new episodes since June 3, 2022. He’s also a married father of two—whose Instagram page is littered with photos of his extended family, including his megastar father.

You won’t see any mention of Winning Time on his Instagram, though—as we must assume that it has been banned from any and all Johnson households.

Headshot of Keith Nelson

Senior Editor

Keith Nelson is a writer by fate and journalist by passion, who has connected dots to form the bigger picture for Men’s Health, Vibe Magazine, LEVEL MAG, REVOLT TV, Complex, Grammys.com, Red Bull, Okayplayer, and Mic, to name a few.  

This article was originally posted here.

Comments are closed.