LOS ANGELES (AP) -Former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson said he and his wife ``cried all night'' after Barack Obama beat John McCain to become the country's first African-American president.
``He can motivate people,'' Johnson said Wednesday night at halftime of the Clippers-Lakers game at Staples Center. ``He crossed all racial lines. One of the smartest men I have ever seen as a political figure, common sense as well.
``It's the right time. We have some big problems in America.''
Johnson said not only did he not believe as a kid growing up in Michigan that there wouldn't be an African-American president in his lifetime, he had doubts the country was ready to make such a decision while Obama was running.
The Hall of Famer supported Hillary Clinton for president until Obama won the Democratic nomination.
``I'm loyal to the Clintons,'' Johnson said. ``I'm a loyal person, just like now with Barack. I'll be loyal to him. I told her if she ever ran, I would support her, and I did.
rk for it, it helped him beat McCain.''
Johnson smiled when asked the first thing he did when it was announced Tuesday night just after 8 p.m. in California that Obama had won the presidency.
``Jumped up for joy, we were hollering and screaming,'' he said. ``And then we started crying. As African-Americans we've made great strides. I think what this says is you can really become anything in life you want to become. It's really a wonderful thing that we can be able to witness this.''
Johnson said he believes Obama is prepared to do the best possible job.
``He's a motivator. He has a plan,'' Johnson said. ``One thing Barack can do, he can come in a room, command a room. Everyone will listen to every word.''
Johnson said he'll do whatever possible to help the president-elect, but only in the private sector.
``That's what I do best,'' Johnson said. ``Ninety-one cities, 22 states, I have businesses. That's where I can help if he asks me to help.
``I'm looking forward to him making drastic changes. I think he will definitely bring changes to America and around the world.''
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