Magic Johnson, joking about tabloid stories that he was too ill to get out of bed, squelched the rumors yesterday by shooting baskets for 30 minutes at Madison Square Garden in New York -- with former Lakers coach Pat Riley as his rebounder.
Johnson retired Nov. 7 after testing positive for HIV.
He recalled former teammate Michael Cooper used to buy sensationalistic newspapers and read them on the team bus.
"I'd catch myself thinking, 'Wow, an ape gave birth to a tiger,' " he said. "Now I'm on the front pages of them every day. My wife and I just laugh at those things, reports that she's sleeping in the basement in the maid's room, things like that. It's just funny."