"He acts so holy," Sterling said of Johnson. "I mean, he made love to every girl in every city in America. And he had AIDS."
Johnson, who does not have AIDS but is HIV positive, responded to Sterling's comments in an interview with Cooper on Tuesday.
"First of all, 22 years ago, I announced that I did have HIV. And I came out like a man. You know, I told the world. I didn't blame nobody else. I understood what I did was wrong, OK?" Johnson said.
"And I hope that I was able to help people in doing that. And I think I did," he added.
Johnson also said that Sterling's disparaging comments exacerbate stigmas against people living with HIV and AIDs.
"We have got to continue to educate people just like Donald Sterling about those who are living with HIV and AIDS," he said. "I hope this doesn't set us back. The stigma is still there. We know that. We have been fighting it for years."
Johnson, who started the Magic Johnson Foundation, also countered Sterling's assertions that he "doesn't do anything" for black people.
"My whole life is devoted to urban America," Johnson said. "So, you know, I just wish he knew the facts when he is talking. But he is a man who is upset, and he is reaching. He is reaching. He is trying to find something that he can grab onto to help him save his team."
Johnson added that he found Sterling's attitudes "sad."
"Yes, am I upset? Of course. But at the same time, I'm a God-fearing man and I'm going to pray for him and hope things work out for him," Johnson said.