Video Vault: Magic Johnson's stunning HIV news
1987: Roy Hinson #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers boxes out Earvin 'Magic' Johnson #32 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1987-1988 NBA season game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California.
November 7th, 2011
11:58 AM ET

Video Vault: Magic Johnson's stunning HIV news

It's a day that shocked the sports world and changed the course of NBA history.  Nov. 7, 1991, 20 years ago today, NBA superstar Earvin "Magic" Johnson told the world that he contracted the HIV virus and was retiring from basketball.  At the time, Magic's announcement seemed like a death sentence, especially because people had so many misconceptions about HIV and AIDS.  In the years following his diagnosis, Johnson has become the face of HIV and an advocate for safe sex.   Today we look back at the day that changed Magic Johnson's career and the way the world viewed HIV.

Announcement that shocked the world – The day Magic Johnson heard he contracted HIV, he could have kept his mouth shut. He could have hid from the cameras and not said a word to the media. Instead, he decided to do something that at the time many would have been to afraid to do.  Here's a clip from his news conference announcing his diagnosis.

L.A. Lakers lose heart and soul – The day Johnson announced he had contracted HIV, the media had a lot of questions.  Many journalists wondered how the disease would immediately impact his life and what he would ultimately do after retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers.  CNN's Michael Cowman filed a report the day of Magic's big announcement and helps answer those questions.

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Filed under: AIDS • Basketball • Health • NBA • Sports
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. LMAO

    Magic has access to ultra-expensive drugz that keep his HIV in it's dormant stage. Your insurance doesn't cover the use of these drugz.

    November 7, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      It's spelled "drugs".

      November 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.R.

      Yes, insurance does cover the cost of drugs; obviously, better insurance plans means better coverage; but there are drugs on insurance plans' rosters and if someone has a problem affording their medicine, there are programs set up to help people in attaining these medicines.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Atkins

      He keeps his money in his bedroom, and breathing in the fumes from all the dough makes the HIV go away.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      the drugs are ultra expensive because the drug makers have explicit rights to not allow generics for 11+ years, so the poor die while the rich thrive and the drug companies rake in mega profits

      November 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • HoustonSteve

      First, the cost of these drugs is not that excessive. Bill Clinton has actually found ways to even get them to the third world. Most importantly, to people who say the drug companies are evil for charging a lot for cutting edge drugs, get your head out of your rear-end. It costs the drug company 1 BILLION per drug to develop and run through clinical trials. That's BILLION with a "B". And many drugs fail somewhere along the process so they recover nothing from these. If there were not the incentive to be able to sell the product, the company would not invest in the R and D and there would be NO drugs. Surely, anybody with half a brain should realize this.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      To bspurloc: developing drugs costs BILLION$ of dollars. It takes a long time and a lot of trial and error, not to forget that FDA trials costs hundreds of millions. I am not exaggerating. Companies have to recover that cost, and also make a profit, as an incentive to be in business and because that profit is used to research more drugs. Get off your liberal "corporations are greedy" butt and be glad the drug exists and that it will be cheaper in X years. That X number of years protection is there so that the company can recover the costs.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      Magic Johnson takes Kaletra, he's the poster child for it... A drug that's covered by ALL insurance companies and if you can't get it with insurance, you can get it with assistance from the pharmaceutical company.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Magic has the cure. It's 18000 dollars shot directly into the bloodstream.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blas

      There are NO drugs available to Magic that are not available to anyone else, I have HIV and take a drug called Atripla and yes it is covered by my insurance, the virus is under control as long as I stay on the meds.

      November 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Giant Sperm

    Nothing can stop me! MWOO-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH !

    November 7, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. steeve-o

    Yeah, I don't think anyone would believe you to be as crazy as you sound like you are... so just admit that you're also on drugs and we can move on from your ridiculously asinine comment.

    November 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |


    November 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Johan S

    Dude, I think you must have AIDS because it looks like your AIDS related dementia is kicking in. Get yourself treated, start on the anti-retrovirals asap while there's still a chance.

    November 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      LoL @ anti-retrovirals....

      November 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brian Paul

    Why would CNN out of nowhere decide to rehash Magic Johnson's health issue on a national website. It shows very poor taste and I'm sure really hurts Magic that this is even being talked about. Zero Class CNN! Zero!!!!!

    November 7, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clay

      This story ran today because on THIS DATE in 1991 MJ announced he had HIV.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • REALLY?

      ummm, Brian, did you miss the fact that the article stated on Nov 7, 1981.....It is the 20th anniversary of Majic's statment to the public (which is why CNN is publishing the story). CNN is actually praising the athlete as to what a brave move he made to bring awareness to this virus. Majic wants it to be talked about which is why he told the world. If he didn't, he never would've made the statement and nobody would have been the wiser.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      moron alert

      November 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Klein

    Since when has a news organization ever had any class? What world are you living in? They do whatever to get eyeballs.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      since when have commentators researched anything they reply to or actually read the article get an answer to that which they cry about

      November 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Anon

    It's not drugs that are keeping him alive, it's money.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Panthro

      Man, to be honest with you, he seems to be in better health that a lot of people I know. Something smells fishy!!

      November 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. neal kelley

    I guess we will start with you...

    November 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. LMAO

    Research 'truth about prions'...proteins that naturally defend a body made diseased by things such as chemicals, overeating, and multi-seyxing just as nature produces housfles and maggots to devour that rotten pc. of meat you kicked under your refrigerator before your toddler eats it. Every 25 yrs or so, we are told that some dr. discovered the cause of some dreaded new disease. In reality, it's the same naturally occuring protein. Even if you have aquired HIV, that "aids test" doesn't count viruses, it counts antinodies that onlyy multiply when the virus comes out of it's dormant stage that can last ten years or more. If the test says you have HIV, your Dr. will prescribe cheap drugz that kill prions. If you are ultra-rich, you can afford ultra-expensive drugz that keep the virus dormant. Virtually everyone on earth has HIV in it's dormant stage...the virus is now airborne. Your own healthy body will defend you, your unhealthy body will not. Research the truth about prions and become healthy and wise.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Listen, I don't know what you've read but you have some obvious mental deficiencies. It sounds like you could read the ingredients in pop tarts and somehow conclude that cancer comes from eating crabs.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bshotts

    My A$$ Got Infected Coach

    November 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. neal kelley

    Well first of all.. because the gay community is hyper sensitive of the issue.. they are getting tested more often then str8 people.. Because the disease lays dormant for 10+ years.. you really do not know how many str8 people are infected..

    November 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan WHite

      True, atleast in alot of cases! It's not as black or white subject. It's about the degrees and shades of gray!

      November 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • FUNR

      The disease doesn't "lays dormant" , brain dead idiot. That virus goes immediately to work trying to replicate like crazy from the instant you are infected. It just takes a long time, depending on many factors running the gamut from genetic inheritance to lifestyle, before the body becomes so weakened that the opportunistic infections and other problems develop.

      November 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kevin

    Ok, either you're trolling or one of the stupidest people alive.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • untgraad

      Since when did those become separate options? The two walk hand in hand.

      November 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. neal kelley

    Can you please explain what in Gods name do you mean by "multi-breeding"?

    November 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Yeah i know

    There is a cure for AIDS its called having MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!!

    November 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
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