Magic Johnsons Life Now
Thanks to the invention of the triple-drug cocktail to treat HIV/AIDS positive individuals in 1995, Magic Johnson was able to avoid the agonizing and drawn-out deaths that were suffered by the likes of Eazy E and Freddie Mercury.
While he is still HIV positive as there is no cure for the virus, Johnson has been able to live a relatively normal life. His wife Cookie and son EJ remain HIV negative.
From The Archives: Magic Johnson Announced He Had Tested Positive For Hiv 30 Years Ago
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Thirty years ago Magic Johnson one of the most famous athletes in the world stood before the television cameras in the Forum Club and announced that he had acquired the virus that causes AIDS and would retire.
Earvin Magic Johnson went on to prove that, with treatment, there is life after HIV. He played basketball again, first as a as a prominent member of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team and then for the Lakers.
Today he owns Magic Johnson Enterprises, a billion dollar investment business, and is co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.
From the San Diego Tribune, Thursday, Nov. 7, 1991:
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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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.
Rookie Season In The Nba
Johnson was drafted first overall in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson said that what was “most amazing” about joining the Lakers was the chance to play alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the team’s 7 ft 2 in center who became the leading scorer in NBA history. Despite Abdul-Jabbar’s dominance, he had failed to win a championship with the Lakers, and Johnson was expected to help them achieve that goal. Lakers coach Jack McKinney had the 6-foot-9-inch rookie Johnson, who some analysts thought should play forward, be a point guard, even though incumbent Norm Nixon was already one of the best in the league. Johnson averaged 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game for the season, was selected to the NBA All-Rookie Team, and was named an NBA All-Star Game starter.
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Who Is Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson dominated the court as one of professional basketball’s best players for 13 years. He retired from the Los Angeles Lakers in 1991 after revealing that he had tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, though he later returned in 1996 for one final season.
Johnson has since built up a business empire, which includes real estate holdings, Starbucks franchises, movie theaters and shares of professional sports teams. He is also a published author.
Hivs Effect On Johnsons Career
Not only did the HIV diagnosis cause many to speculate that Magic Johnson was gay, but it also had a huge impact on his career in the NBA. Shortly after he announced that he was HIV positive, Johnson made the decision to retire from basketball.
He said in an ABC PrimeTime Live interview, that he was retiring because of the reaction of people to a cut that he got while playing. When asked about the cut he got, he said he just felt like people were too concerned about it.
He told interviewer Chris Wallace, I said between this, and all the criticism, its just too much. Its gonna happen all year long. Scraped. Whether I get cut or somebody else. Boom. Theres that panic. Theres that fear.
Johnsons retirement announcement still didnt stop fans from voting him into the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. Even though some of his fellow players didnt want him to play, Johnson attended the event and ended up being awarded the MVP title.
He also represented the United States at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as a part of what became known as the dream team. A team of basketball players including Micheal Jordan and Larry Bird.
Despite retiring due to his disease and concerns surrounding it, Johnson was planning on making an NBA comeback for the 92-93 season. That plan was abandoned when a lawsuit was filed against him by one of his ex-lovers who stated she had contracted the HIV virus from Johnson.
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Hiv Announcement And Olympics
After a physical before the 199192 NBA season, Johnson discovered that he had tested positive for HIV. In a press conference held on November 7, 1991, Johnson made a public announcement that he would retire immediately. He stated that his wife Cookie and their unborn child did not have HIV, and that he would dedicate his life to “battle this deadly disease”.
Johnson initially said that he did not know how he contracted the disease, but later acknowledged that it was through having numerous sexual partners during his playing career. He admitted to having “harems of women” and talked openly about his sexual activities because “he was convinced that heterosexuals needed to know that they, too, were at risk”. At the time, only a small percentage of HIV-positive American men had contracted it from heterosexual sex, and it was initially rumored that Johnson was gay or bisexual, although he denied both. Johnson later accused Isiah Thomas of spreading the rumors, a claim Thomas denied.
Johnson’s HIV announcement became a major news story in the United States, and in 2004 was named as ESPN’s seventh-most memorable moment of the previous 25 years. Many articles praised Johnson as a hero, and the then-U.S. President George H. W. Bush said, “For me, Magic is a hero, a hero for anyone who loves sports.”
How Does Johnson Stay So Healthy
In the years since his diagnosis, Johnson has defied the stereotypes surrounding HIV and AIDS. Hes been surprisingly candid about how he got the disease, admitting to hundreds of random, unprotected sexual encounters while on the road during the 80s.
Although other players have spread the rumor that Johnson was gay or even bisexual, Johnson has dedicated himself to educating people about HIV and AIDS. He did a series of promotional videos in the 90s and even wrote a book on the subject. Its been almost 30 years since his initial diagnosis. The question often comes up, How does he stay so healthy?
The truth is, there isnt really a secret, according to Live Science. Johnson is not alone in having survived with the disease for so long The key is preventing HIV from progressing into AIDS through a cocktail of medications and enzymes that arrest its development. If anything, the only secret is that Johnson was on the pioneering edge of that cocktail, and had early access to what has become a standard treatment in the modern era.
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His Rivals Already Knew
When Magic Johnson announced his news to the world, few people were already aware, but he had confided in a select number of individuals.
As well as his wife and NBA Commissionar David Stern, the Lakers legend had also told Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas.
The Celtics star broke down in tears when he heard the news, while Thomas refused to believe it and Jordan was simply left speechless.
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 At 60+: I Plan To Go On Living For A Long Time
Magic Johnson doesnt have AIDS anymore! someone blurted out during a lively discussion about safe sex in our community. After this young persons statement, others nodded their head in agreement. While Johnson publicly delivered the news of his HIV status on national television back in 1991, he also has been publicly living his lifea pretty good lifewith the disease, which many believe that he has either cured himself and no longer has the virus.
I just want to make clear, first of all, I do not have the AIDS disease, the now 61-year-old said back in 91. I plan to go on living for a long time.
So far, Magic has lived up to that plan.
In the late 80s and early 90s when he was one of the most beloved professional sports figures in the world making the announcement about his status, folks were reeling over Johnsons revelation. The news of Magic Johnson having HIV forever changed the NBA, the Lakers franchise, all professional sports, and the world. Many wondered how the virus could have crept into the heterosexual realm, which at the time, was still considered a gay mans or drug users disease.
As the years progressed, Johnson retired from his beloved sport, made multi-millions in the business sector, and became an AIDS activist. Soon, people began wondering how Johnson wasnt losing weight and why didnt he look sickly.
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There’s Nothing Magic About How He Lives With Hiv
Magic Johnson has lived with HIV since 1991, which naturally hasn’t come without a fair share of ups, downs, and unknowns. Speaking with Newsweek in 2011, Johnson, who at the time remained AIDS-free, offered some insight into his ongoing challenges. “I’ll hear people say every so often that having HIV must not be so bad just look at Magic and how well he’s doing. I’m blessed that the medicine I take really worked well with my body and makeup. It doesn’t work like that for everyone. A lot of people haven’t been as fortunate as I have.”
So how has the NBA Hall of Famer lived with a virus that many felt at the the time of his 1991 announcement was a “death sentence” ? Doctors put him on a new “cocktail of antiretroviral medications” in 1994 , which were, at the time, still being used in “clinical trials,” according to Spencer Lieb, senior epidemiologist and HIV/AIDS research coordinator for the Florida Consortium for HIV/AIDS Research.
While there is no cure for HIV as of this writing, Johnson has grown old enough to become a grandfather. “It was such a special moment, to be able to hold and play with my granddaughter and see my son actually become this great husband and father,” Johnson told Newsweek of the milestone. “Man, you don’t know I had to stop myself from tearing up, because who knew? Who really knew?”
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Rivalry With Larry Bird
Johnson and Bird were first linked as rivals after Johnson’s Michigan State squad defeated Bird’s Indiana State team in the 1979 NCAA finals. The rivalry continued in the NBA, and reached its climax when Boston and Los Angeles met in three out of four NBA Finals from 1984 to 1987. Johnson asserted that for him, the 82-game regular season was composed of 80 normal games, and two LakersCeltics games. Similarly, Bird admitted that Johnson’s daily box score was the first thing he checked in the morning.
Several journalists hypothesized that the JohnsonBird rivalry was so appealing because it represented many other contrasts, such as the clash between the Lakers and Celtics, between Hollywood flashiness and Boston/Indiana blue collar grit , and between blacks and whites. The rivalry was also significant because it drew national attention to the faltering NBA. Prior to Johnson and Bird’s arrival, the NBA had gone through a decade of declining interest and low TV ratings. With the two future Hall of Famers, the league won a whole generation of new fans, drawing both traditionalist adherents of Bird’s dirt court Indiana game and those appreciative of Johnson’s public park flair. According to sports journalist Larry Schwartz of ESPN, Johnson and Bird saved the NBA from bankruptcy.
Magic Johnsons Hiv Diagnosis
Its November 7, 1991, and Magic Johnson has just announced at a press event that he has tested HIV positive. Beside him at the podium is his wife of only two months and the soon-to-be mother of his son, Cookie Johnson.
The nation is utterly floored by the news. This is because, in 1991, Magic Johnson was the face of the NBA, possibly one of the most beloved players at the time.
A lot of people started to wonder if Johnson was gay because up to this point it had only been queer celebrities who had been diagnosed with the disease. A lot of the celebrities were outed for their sexuality.
People like Liberace, Freddie Mercury, and Rock Hudson had all been outed because of either their deaths from HIV/AIDS-related illness or their diagnosis.
In reality, Magic Johnson was the very first heterosexual celebrity to announce their diagnosis publicly. His decision to go public was mostly due to the insistence of an AIDS activist.
As this article from Frontline explains, it was Elizabeth Glaser who convinced Magic to go public with his HIV diagnosis. Glaser ended up with the disease when she had to have a blood transfusion while giving birth to her daughter.
Glasers infection led to the infection of both her daughter and her son. This was because during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 90s, donated blood wasnt tested for HIV.
You can watch Magic Johnsons announcement to the press of his HIV diagnosis in the below video.
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