Many believed it was only a disease contracted by Homosexual men. Or it was a disease that would never touch them. But on November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson, a three-time NBA MVP and five-time NBA champion, proved that the virus can affect anyone, even one of basketball’s biggest stars.
Back in 1991, contracting the disease was a death sentence. It not only abruptly ended Magic’s career but sent shockwaves through the sports world that still resonates to this day.
Here’s what he wrote in an interview with ThePlayBook on Monday:
"To understand how I got to where I am today, you have to understand where I came from. Today is a celebration of life, a celebration of what some people thought was a death sentence 25 years ago. It’s a celebration of everything I’ve been through until now.
God brings you through challenges to understand His power and His purpose for your life. Life is going to have ups and downs, but it’s the humbleness you show in the good moments and the resilience you display in the bad moments that make you who you are. This is a celebration of those moments! […]
Though I had accepted my new status, telling the world was a different ordeal. In the early 1990s hearing about anyone with HIV/AIDS meant that they didn’t have long to live. I felt it was my duty to educate as many people as I could about the disease. It was then that I began my new journey to walk every day in God’s purpose. Today, I continue to do everything I can to bring awareness and education about this disease to the community."
Johnson came back and played in the 1992 All-Star Game and also suited up for the ’92 Dream Team for the Barcelona Olympics.
Over the last 25 years, Magic hasn’t only raised awareness of HIV, but has also raised millions of dollars for research to develop medications and treatment options. He’s also now head of a business conglomerate worth hundreds of millions of dollars and is part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Sparks and Los Angeles FC.
While there’s no cure for HIV/AIDS, Magic has proved there is hope in beating the disease.