Quantcast
Monday, November 7th, 2011 at 1:15 pm  |  13 responses

Magic Johnson: 20 Years After Announcing He Had HIV


Today marks the 20-year anniversary of Magic Johnson’s stunning announcement to the world that he had contracted the HIV virus (a milestone many feared would never happen when the news broke.) Johnson continues to fight on despite the disease, working with various groups to educate the public on HIV and AIDS. Many great pieces were penned to mark the anniversary, but I want to direct you particularly to this one in SI as being the best and most comprehensive of them all: “Our first thought was, We’re going to watch him die. We need to keep remembering that for a few reasons: to appreciate how much medical (or pharmacological) science has evolved, to appreciate how much our perception of disease can change and to appreciate how much one person can do if his will is strong. Thousands of readers will find it hard to grasp that we heard ‘death sentence’ when Magic gathered us around the TV on Nov. 7, 1991 and told us — astoundingly, bomb-droppingly — that he had ‘attained’ the AIDS virus, as if it were another capture-the-flag moment in a gilded career. Millions are living with HIV and will never acquire full-blown AIDS, which is still a deadly disease. But in the early ’90s we were in the Dark Ages of this mysterious disease. Worse, we believed that Magic would in all likelihood wither away in the most public fashion, dribbling a mini-ball through Arsenio’s legs, dunking over Jay on a 7-foot basket, always game and smiling, of course, but each time a little weaker, a little frailer, a little less … Magic. But it never happened. And so we recognize the 20th anniversary of what was quite simply the most riveting sports press conference in history. With no reason to suspect there won’t be a 50th. Magic is 52 going on 22, a global businessman, NBA commentator, talk-show guest, ambassador without portfolio, one of those one-name supernovas that everybody knows. But it was nothing like that on that Thursday afternoon in November of ’91. About two years later, another jaw-dropping, page-one presser took place in Chicago when Michael Jordan announced his sudden retirement (the first one) from the NBA. But that gathering had an entirely different feel to it, permeated as it was by a grumbling undertone amid the press, which doubted it was getting the whole story. (Some still doubt it today.) Magic’s press conference, by contrast, was dirge-like, the testimonials more like eulogies, a kind of pre-funeral. All in all, it was a strange time with a preamble and multiple repercussions afterward.”

  • Add a Comment
  • Share
  • RSS

Tags:

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    HEY MAGIC, SHARE SOME OF THAT MEDICINE WITH AFRICANS. O WAIT, YOURE MORE INTERESTED IN HUSTLING EVERY DOLLAR YOU CAN GET FROM POOR AMERICANS.

  • http://www.slamonline.com house

    Ya’know, I remember when this was announced and I have been through enough personal tragedy to have it change my perspective and priorities for the better. You think something like that would also change Magic’s own perspectives and priorities but no, for some people, all they care about is making the green and don’t give a damn about who is affected while they do it.
    He takes time out to criticise people like Artest who is a contentious civic minded person but what has he ever done apart from be a figurehead for sh***** finance companies.

  • Kadavour

    “And you can live through anything if Magic made it”

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    I still laugh at that South Park epsidoe where the kids worked with Magic and found out that large sums of money cure HIV.

  • Red Star

    Now that’s what I’m talking about Slam! Magic’s story is one of hope for those who live with HIV. Good on ya!

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    Insert a good amount of money in your blood and your ok.

  • Ben Ireland

    @Unfrozen
    If you know nothing, don’t try and stuff your ignorance down others’ throats. Magic spends ALOT of time and money on HIV, doing an incredible job in fact. And his money he’s hustling? He provides a ton of jobs and helped out alot of communities doing so. Magic’s an inspiration, nothing less, and if you don’t know what the F@*k you’re talking, quit spreading your sh1t around others. Idiot.

  • http://myspace.com/gametimeweezy Gametimeweezy

    Magic is the man! damb time flies…

  • James Aka…

    to be a bit of a devil’s advocate here (without being too judgemental like the first comment), the problem with Magic’s HIV success is that it undermines how effective AIDS education is. When he got sick, everyone thought what Arsenio Hall did “he’s going to get skinny and die.” and thats what everyone thought of AIDS in general. 20 years later, he says the right things, but his health communicates that hey, you can live with this. What I fear is that some people look at that and forget that his medicines are really expensive, beyond the reach of most people in the world, nevermind the US. Also, he has the best doctors in the world helping him.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    BEN —LAND(YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF THE NAME), MAGIC PROVIDES TONS OF JOBS? YOU MEAN LIKE THOSE MINIMUM WAGE JOBS AT HIS THEATERS THAT GOT SHUT DOWN? ALL OF MAGIC’S BUSINESSES HAVE BEEN A DETRIMENT TO THE PEOPLE HE PRETENDS TO HELP. YOURE RIGHT, HE DOES SPEND ALOT OF TIME AND MONEY ON HIV, HIS! WHERE IS HIS BIG PROGRAM TO SEND MEDICIND TO AFRICA? MAYBE PARTNERING WITH OPRAH? WHY DONT THEY DO THIS? SURE, HE LENDS HIS NAME AND FACE TO WHATEVER LIL RED RIBBON BS IS GOING ON, BUT HOW ABOUT SOME SUBSTANTIAL CAMPAIGN? PEOPLE TALK ABOUT AN IVORY TOWER, THERE IS AN EBONY TOWER AS WELL. AND THEY DONT LIKE TO SULLY THEMSELVES WITH REGULAR FOLKS.

  • http://www.twitter.com/_dfrance dfrance21

    I can’t say with certainty that Magic doesn’t do anything in the HIV/AIDS community, but if he does its definitely not as visible in the public as his other endeavors. I know he’s the only Starbucks franchisee, I know about Magic Theaters, I know he just teamed up with Quicken Loans and Dan Gilbert but I can’t name one HIV/AIDS related activity he’s involved in.

  • Ben Ireland

    @Caveman… Lawyer, really?
    I’m from Ireland, how can I not be worthy of the name? Aderp.
    The Magic Johnson Foundation has improved its rating on Charity Navigator to Three (four star rating)
    • In 2011 the Magic Johnson Foundation will celebrate their 20th anniversary
    • To date the Taylor Michaels Scholarship program has provided over 300 youth with resources and support
    • By year’s end 2010 our Community Empowerment Centers will have impacted over 245,000 disadvantaged youth
    • CECs have provided programs and transitioned over 450 families from subsidized housing to home ownership
    • CECs have provided over 1,500 youth and young adults with GEDs
    • CECs have improved the academic performance of over 6,000 youth
    • Through the “I Stand with Magic” campaign over 89,000 people have signed up in the online campaign fight against HIV/AIDS
    • Through the “I Stand with Magic” campaign, the Magic Johnson Foundation has provided free HIV/AIDS testing to more than 38,000 Americans in 16 major cities. Additionally, the program has educated nearly 280,000 people about HIV, risk factors associated with the disease and the importance of HIV testing
    • Since 2003 our partnership with AIDs Healthcare Clinics has tested over, 3,750 adults and identified positive results for over 1000 testers
    • The Magic Johnson Foundation Annual Kid’s Mardi Gras started in 1997 has hosted over 16,500 disadvantaged urban youth
    • The Magic Johnson Foundation Annual Holiday Party has hosted over 45,000 youth and distributed over 300,000 toys since 1994.

    There’s a list of what Magic has done for HIV… Sorry he doesn’t make a big deal out of it, but doesn’t mean it ain’t happening… How can you condemn a man for spending HIS OWN MONEY on a disease that could well kill him? It’s his money to do with as he likes; whether that’s giving back (which obviously he does, see: NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION) or helping himself to stay alive longer and in comfort… He’s wrong for that? Really? Tell me how much of charity have you done recently? Or helped give to AIDS at all? Or even a charity? I’m sure you do a Trocaire box at Easter… Well done, you. Magic must be super ashamaed at all the help you’re giving now.

  • Ben Ireland

    A lawyer would have researched the facts about something before he opened his stupidly opiniated mouth… Look it up next time.
    Unfrozen Caveman… Yeah, that’s about it. You’re not worthy of the name.

Advertisement