Basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson is due to arrive in Israel later this year to take part in the opening of a new sports arena in Jerusalem.
Johnson, 54, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, is scheduled to arrive with other NBA stars on September 4 to attend the inauguration of the Jerusalem Arena, Ynet reported on Tuesday.
The visit was the brainchild of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat who, together with the Foreign Ministry and the Israeli consulate in New York, arranged with NBA officials for a delegation of 10 active and retired players to play against local team Hapoel Jerusalem. The game is to the be the centerpiece of the opening of the new arena, located in the Malha neighborhood.
The final lineup of NBA stars has yet to be announced and the delegation is to be funded by donations, the report said.
Johnson’s illustrious career, during which he played 13 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers, saw him win five NBA championships and three MVP awards.
Johnson retired from basketball in 1991 after he revealed that he was carrying HIV.
The Jerusalem Arena is planned to be one of the most advanced sports venues in Israel and will include an Olympic-sized swimming pool and tennis courts. It is to become the new home of the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team as well as hosting major international events.