Magic Johnson Announces He Is Hiv
On November 7, 1991, basketball legend Earvin Magic Johnson stuns the world by announcing his sudden retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, after testing positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At the time, many Americans viewed AIDS as a gay white mans disease. Johnson , who is African American and heterosexual, was one of the first sports stars to go public about his HIV-positive status.
Revered as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Johnson spent his entire 13-season NBA career with the Lakers, helping them to win five championships in the 1980s. The 69 point guard, a native of Lansing, Michigan, was famous for his extraordinary passing skills, contagious smile and love of the game. In 1981, he signed a 25-year deal with the Lakers for $25 million, one of the NBAs first over-the-top contracts.
Johnson, a three-time NBA Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star team member, didnt completely hang up his basketball shoes after announcing his retirement in 1991. He was voted most valuable player of the 1992 NBA All-Star Game and played on the Olympic Dream Team that won gold for the U.S. in Barcelona that summer. He briefly returned to the Lakers for the 1993-94 season as head coach and made a short-lived comeback as a Lakers player in the 1995-96 season.
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In the years that followed, Johnson was extremely fortunate in being able to live with and manage the virus with treatments available at the time, in particular before the 1996 release of a potent triple-combination therapy that has prolonged the lives of many with HIV, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
I knew many people, many of whom were friends of mine, who were infected at the same timebut their disease progressed so rapidly that by the time optimal therapy was available, they had already passed away, says Fauci, who was among those who counseled Johnson after his diagnosis.
The human immunodeficiency virus , and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome which it can cause, had entered the mainstream American lexicon a decade earlier, when doctors began seeing increasing numbers of young, seemingly healthy men presenting with a form of pneumonia typically seen in immunocompromised individuals. In the early 1980s, as researchers scrambled to understand and treat the virus, the number of infections continued to climband AIDS was fatal for virtually everyone diagnosed with it. By 1991, it had claimed more than 100,000 lives, according to statistics on known cases.
Cookie Johnson On Coming To Terms With Her Son Being Gay
The couple never kept it secret that their son, Earvin Johnson III, who goes by E.J., is gay, but Cookie and Magic Johnson explained how they came to terms with it.
I have pictures of all the Little League stuff I put him in and the baseball teams and the football teams. And it just wasn’t his thing. Ultimately you want your child to be happy, she said.
But I also knew that Earvin didn’t understand. And I was still trying to figure it out. I’m not going to sit here and say that I understood that he was gay at that time, because I didn’t. I just knew that this is what made him happy. And as time went on, it never changed.
Magic said he had a change of heart after a tough conversation with his son.
I had to come to realize that this is who he is, and he’s going to be happy. And so why am I judging him? Magic said. Im his father, so I got to be the first one to say, It’s OK and I love you. Now, how can I help you?”
E.J. went public with his sexual orientation in 2013 and owned his public debut as the news was picked up by entertainment sites. E.J. went on to become a reality star of Es Rich Kids of Beverly Hills and his own spinoff show, EJNYC, which premiered this summer.
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He’s Still Making An Impact Off The Court
According to CBS News, Johnson became “the face of HIV/AIDS” when he shocked the world with his diagnosis during a dramatic 1991 press conference. “I was just devastated, blown away,” Johnson recalled to CBS News. “We have to remember at that time, people were really dying of AIDS. I was just scared to death.” His stellar NBA career was over but a meeting shortly after with AIDS activist Elizabeth Glaser would give the five-time NBA champion a new purpose in life. “She made me promise before she died that I would become the face of the disease and really go out and help people and educate people about it,” Johnson told PBS Frontline.
Since 1991, Johnson has travelled the world, becoming an ambassador for treatment and prevention of the deadly virus, and speaking out against the early myths that were often associated with the disease. He also started the Magic Johnson Foundation, which has “worked to promote more testing and give minority communities better access to treatment,” according to Fox Sports.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation honored Johnson for his activism by giving him the inaugural World Aids Day Magic Award. “I haven’t played in 15 to 20 years and now when people come up to me it’s never about basketball,” Johnson told Fox Sports in 2010. “I guess I’ve turned the page on another chapter in my life.”
Magic Johnson Opens Up About His Health Career 30 Years After Hiv Diagnosis: You Just Sit There And Say What Does This Mean Am I Gonna Die
When Magic Johnson’s iconic basketball career was interrupted by a stunning HIV diagnosis three decades ago, the newlywed NBA legend had no idea how much time he had to live or how the virus would affect his wife and their unborn child.
“You just sit there and say, what does this mean? Am I gonna die?'” he told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King.
Johnson, who remains HIV-undetectable to this day, opened up about living with the virus and his career in an exclusive interview for “CBS Mornings” nearly 30 years after he publicly announced his HIV diagnosis.
Today, the Lakers star is a loving father and grandfather, a successful businessman, a philanthropist and the CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises. He and Cookie have been together throughout this time, and neither she nor their son, Earvin Johnson III, have HIV.
At the time of his diagnosis, Johnson thought the virus was a death sentence.
“I had to really learn a lot about the disease, HIV as well as AIDS. I had to make sure that I was open-minded enough to ask a lot of questions, go get a lot of information from different people,” he said.
Johnson first learned of his diagnosis after a routine physical ahead of the 1991-92 NBA season. He was called back home from a pre-season game in Utah, so that Lakers team physician Dr. Michael Mellman could deliver the news in person. When Johnson first heard the news, he was “devastated,” he said.
His wife remembers that moment too.
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When Basketball Lost Its Smile: 30 Years Since Magic Johnson Retired Due To Hiv Diagnosis
Continues to be an ambassador for the disease
Thirty years have passed since Magic Johnson shocked not just the NBA world but the sports world when he announced that he would be retiring due to having tested positive for HIV, something which at the time was akin to a death sentence.
In a pre-internet and social media society, the news still had the power to shock on a wide scale and remains one of the most memorable moments in basketball history.
Johnson was 32 years old and at the height of his powers when he had to step away from the court. He would return for the Olympics the following year and attempt to continue his NBA career, but protests from his fellow players helped put paid to that.
“I think sometimes we think only gay people can get it,” Johnson told reporters at a press conference to announce his retirement in November 1991.
“I am saying that it can happen to anybody, even me.
“Life is going to go on for me, and I’m going to be a happy man.”
Johnson went on to become a spokesperson for HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.
Magic Johnson Turns Hiv Tragedy Into Inspiring Journey
Twenty Years ago the words AIDS and HIV meant that soon your friends and family would be saying goodbye to you forever.
November 9, 1991 in a press conference in Los Angeles, Magic Johnson announced that he had contracted the HIV virus and his friends and family thought they would be saying goodbye to their friend, family member and former teammate forever.
Before a New York Knicks vs. Orlando Magic game in Madison Square Garden, Magics former head coach with the Lakers, Pat Riley, who was then coaching the New York Knicks asked for a moment of silence before the Knicks’ game and then led the players and crowd in the Lord’s Prayer.
Back in 1991, having HIV and AIDS was a death sentence. AIDS had taken such popular figures in sports and the entertainment world in tennis legend Arthur Ashe, Queen lead singer Freddy Mercury and film star Rock Hudson.
But, because of Magics determination, grit and his ability to be a winner in every aspect of his life, 20 years later Magic is here with us as healthy as he was when he was lighting up the basketball court.
If you take a listen to Magics press conference you can see how Magic knew then that he would still be here with us today.
“Life is going to go on for me and I’m going to be a happy man,” he said. “When your back is against the wall, you have to come out swinging,” he said. “I’m going to go on, going to be there, going to have fun.”
Most importantly, Magic has raised millions upon millions of dollars for AIDS research.
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Relationship With Jerry Buss
Magic Johnson had an extremely close relationship with Lakers owner Jerry Buss, whom he saw as a mentor and a father figure. Calling Buss his “second father” and “one of best friends”, Johnson spent five hours visiting Buss at the hospital just a few months before his death from cancer. Speaking to media just hours after Buss had died, Johnson was emotional, saying, “Without Dr. Jerry Buss, there is no Magic.” Buss acquired the team from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979, shortly before he drafted Johnson with the #1 pick in the 1979 NBA draft. In addition to playing 13 seasons for the Lakers and coaching the team briefly in 1994, Johnson also had an ownership stake in the team for nearly twenty years. Buss took a special interest in Johnson, introducing him to important Los Angeles business contacts and showing him how the Lakers organization was run, before eventually selling Johnson a stake in the team in 1994. Johnson credits Buss with giving him the business knowledge that enabled him to become part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He Is Very Charitable
Magic gives back in more ways than just providing shops in the inner cities and profiting off of them. He’s also extremely charitable. The Magic Johnson Foundation has contributed over $20 million to various charities and provided $4 million in scholarships, according to CNN. And a significant portion of his donations go right back to those same communities where he provides businesses.
And then there’s his HIV/AIDS awareness. Johnson didn’t shy away from the disease. Instead, he spread awareness most importantly the truth of what it meant to have HIV and what you could and couldn’t do. There were others before him with the disease who first put a face on it, but Magic showed that you can live with HIV, and his financial contributions have excelled the race to not only find a cure, but to enhance the lives of people living with the conditions. In fact, Johnson told the Los Angeles Times in 2011, that through his partnership with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, he helped open seven clinics where “people all over the country can come in and get their HIV meds for free.”
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Magic Johnson Has Aids Virus
From Tribune wire and local reports
Basketball star Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers has tested positive for the AIDS virus and is retiring from the game, The Associated Press and CNN reported today.
A very high official with the team confirmed the retirement and said that Johnson is a very sick man.
Johnson, 32, was to make the announcement this afternoon at a news conference at the Forum in Inglewood, where he dazzled fans for 12 seasons with his brilliance and captivating smile.
The Lakers wouldnt confirm the nature of the news conference, but several sources close to the team said Johnson would retire because he had tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS.
Johnson, from Lansing, Mich., was married in his home state on Sept. 14 to longtime girlfriend Cookie Kelly. He has a son, Andre, who lives in Lansing.
He missed the Lakers first three games this season because of what was described as the flu. On Monday, he was cleared to begin practicing.
Johnson, who led the Lakers to five NBA championships and won three NBA Most Valuable Player awards, would probably be playing again within a week, the speculation went, but then came word that he had tested positive.
At 6-foot-9, Johnson revolutionized the point-guard position after leading Michigan State to the NCAA championship as a sophomore in 1979.
He leaves the game with a league-record 9,921 assists, having broken Oscar Robertsons career standard last season.
Cookie Johnson: ‘i Fell To My Knees’ When Magic Revealed His Hiv Diagnosis
“We both fell on our knees, and we started crying,” she tells Robin Roberts.
Cookie and Magic Johnson on His HIV Diagnosis, Their Son Being Gay
“It scared me to death. I mean, I fell to my knees,” she told “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts. “We both fell on our knees and we started crying.”
It was Nov. 7, 1991, when Los Angeles Lakers star player Earvin “Magic” Johnson publicly announced his diagnosis and sent shock waves across the nation. Back at home, the news tested the strength of their marriage.
Cookie Johnson shares the story from her perspective in her new memoir, “Believing in Magic.”
“I didn’t have time to get mad about whatever happened, you know, or start asking questions. went to ‘He is possibly going to die,'” Johnson told Roberts. “There wasn’t a lot of knowledge back in 1991.”
The couple wed on Sept. 14, 1991, just 45 days before Magic revealed his diagnosis to his wife. Johnson is adamant that she never wavered in supporting her husband.
“He said, ‘If you want to leave, you know, I don’t blame you. It’s OK. I understand.’ Then I said, ‘Are you kidding me? No. I love you. I’m gonna stay here and help you live. I’m gonna stay here and we’re gonna beat this thing. We’re gonna figure out how to beat this thing,'” she recalled.
The NBA star credits his wife for her unconditional support.
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When Did Magic Johnson Get Aids
Earvin Magic Johnson has the repute of being one of the most successful players in the history of the basketball game. During the 905 games played as part of the National Basketball Association, he has scored career averages of 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game.
In November 1991, Johnson encountered the most challenging moment of his life. During a routine physical examination for an insurance policy, he was detected to be a carrier of the HIV virus. It was soon revealed that Johnson seemed to have very limited knowledge on the subject. He did confess to a typical sports celebrity lifestyle of heterosexual promiscuity. However, his ignorance diminished the fear of contacting HIV, which to the best of his knowledge was supposedly limited to homosexuality. In order to undergo treatment, the team physician advised Johnson to quit basketball immediately. Johnson first shared his medical condition with his teammates and then decided to make a public announcement.
Johnsons optimism and his desire to remain healthy for his family have astonishingly brought down the AIDS virus in his body to untraceable levels, as notified by his physicians in 1997. They accredited the improvement to the use of powerful drugs, including protease inhibitors. His wife, Cookie, of course gives the credit to God.
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Magic Johnson & Wife Cookie’s Entire Marriage Was ‘messy’
A new documentary about Magic and Cookie Johnson was recently released on Youtube. The filmmaker explored how the couple met, and eventually married.
According to this documentary, Magic and Cookie have had a lot of scandal in their relationship – and we’re not even talking about the HIV stuff .
The craziest part is that Magic and Cookie were actually separated in 2001 and eventually got back together.
Watch the video – it’s pretty good:
Here are some cliff notes from the video:
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