Friday, November 07, 2008

In Honor of Magic Johnson

magic johnson lakers 32 nba Today, Love & Basketball NBA blog honors Magic Johnson, All-star, Hall-of-Famer and American hero.

Seventeen years ago to the day, a bombshell announcement was made that shocked not only the NBA world, but the world in general. Lakers guard and All-star player, Magic Johnson, informed the World that he had contracted HIV. The shocking news was delivered with his wife Cookie nearby, who was carrying an unborn child. It was announced that both Cookie and the child did not have HIV, but the fact that a sports hero had it was unfathomable at the time. The news brought quick allegations that Magic was homosexual, and it actually helped to change the stereotype that AIDS/HIV were only contracted by homosexuals. ESPN named Magic's revelation as the 7th most memorable moment in sports, and US President George Bush proclaimed Magic was a "hero". Other players might become discouraged and angry, or even try to hide the news, but Magic overcame the adversity and used it as away to inspire others.

Magic made an early retirement due to having HIV as well as possible concerns from the league and other players. Again due to stereotypes, not too many people were educated on how HIV or AIDS were contracted. There were some concerns over whether or not you could contract HIV from someone else's blood, for example should Magic start bleeding during a game. Despite the retirement, Magic was voted an All-Star by fans in 1992 and ended up being named MVP of the All-Star game. A memorable moment had him and Isiah Thomas embracing on the court.

Magic went on to also be part of the legendary Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics which won Gold. During his time there, he played very little due to knee problems. He still received many ovations from the crowd, and used it as a platform to try to motivate other people with HIV. Magic attempted a comeback in 1992-93, but after several preseason games and practices he put that idea to rest, citing controversy over his decision from some active players. He chose to write a book on safe sex, start running business ventures and touring Asia/Australia with a team of former NBA players.

In 1993-94, Magic took on the role of coach of his beloved Lakers, but after losing his first 6 games, he hung that up, and purchased a 5% stake in the team. Another comeback attempt ensued in 1994-95, with Magic at age 36. He played in the final 32 games of that season averaging about 15 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds. The Lakers lost in Round 1 of the playoffs to Houston and Magic decided to retire from the NBA permanently.

Magic Johnson is a true testament to sportsmanship, health and humanity. He's shown the triumph of human spirit to overcome his adversity, to continue living each day as if it's his last, and to cherish all that's good in his life. Magic continues to work as an analyst and correspondent at TNT, and owns several businesses today including movie theaters and TGI Fridays. He's been inducted into Basketball's Hall of Fame, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and continues to educate and assist the fight against AIDS/HIV through his Magic Johnson Foundation.

Official Magic Johnson Foundation Website

Magic Johnson Wikipedia

Labels: , , , , , ,

Subscribe to Love & Basketball Blog

Get Email Updates from this Blog:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Share and Bookmark
Add to Google
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to My AOL


Post a Comment

<< Home