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White House taps Magic Johnson, Alonzo Mourning to promote ObamaCare

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Magic Johnson (FoxNews.com)

The Obama administration has turned to two basketball legends in the hope of driving young people to enroll in ObamaCare before the March 31 deadline. 

USA Today reported that Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning will appear in ads touting Healthcare.gov that will begin airing Thursday and be broadcast during NBA games on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBATV. 

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille told USA Today that both men offered to appear in the ads for free. 

Johnson, the point guard who led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships in the 1980s, retired from the NBA in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV. Johnson is still living with HIV and is required to take a cocktail of drugs daily to prevent the virus from becoming AIDS.

"I remember when I took my physical and they told me I had HIV over 22 years ago," Johnson says in his video. "If it wasn't for that quality health care that I had and the plan that I had, I probably would have been dead. You never know when you're going to need it."

Mourning, a seven-time NBA All-Star, was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease in 2000 and was forced to retire briefly in 2003 while he received a kidney transplant. 

The campaign will launch three days after new demographic date released by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that less than 25 percent of the 2.2 million people who have enrolled in ObamaCare are between the ages of 18 and 34. Insurers have said that so-called young 'invincibles' would have to purchase health insurance in far greater numbers for ObamaCare to remain financially solvent.