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

    ...and AIDS isn't the biblical "full recompense for their error" as all conservative religious groups claim.(if you believe in the bible like Bush and Obama, read Romans 1:24-31) Millions of innocent people have HIV so the idea that AIDS is what Paul is referring to is laughable. These conservative religions have been taken-over by "wolves in sheeps clothes"...leaders who themselves and their wives take and recommend the taking of dangerous mind-altering drugs that come with label warnings CAUTION: this drug makes you fat and causes brain damage. If you see a fat man or a skinny man with a fat wife saying AIDS has anything to do with the bible, know he's full of sh!t, and if he's fat, he's literally full of dead red meat. These scriptures will see fulfillment when everyone who knowingly spreads HIV is thrown into prison, including Bayer AG who has already been exposed distributing meds laced with HIV. (Youtube 'nazi Bayer AG' for NBC's proof) Nothing is uglier than an obese person claiming to be God's servant

    November 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan WHite

      Okay i somwhat agree. But i do want to note you unrealistic about people just out there spreading hiv! Zooming on the very few is like maximizing the problem of HIV and it sidetracks everyone from real problems like knowing your status. Oh wait knowing ho not to catch it, what medicines are used to treat it, the viral count. I know not everyone is interested in med school man, but an excuse for being ignorant is lazy! Your opinion of healthy is distorted, please explain genetic disorders and a helathy mind, or mental disorders and healthy body? Add em all up! Im not following on your logic about being fat neither! Just shut up! !

      November 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    To me this is not news. I don't care what context it is written under. Its just an attempt to bring up the past and repost some old headlines. Magic Johnson didn't sit down with a reporter yesterday and say "I want to commemorate my announcement that i am HIV positive" Everyone who follows Magic Johnson Knows he's doing well because their have been no reports of his death from HIV/AIDS... Please CNN I'd really love to know Whats the point?

    November 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pat

    @ neal kelley, the virus does not stay dormant for 10 years in every case. Actually, 10 years is rare for many cases. Some see strains of the virus incubate within months of contraction.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rick Perry

    Magic is how you get AIDS.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LMAO

    ...well, not counting religious leaders who, rather than calling the police on members caught rayeping young men under the age of 18 call themselves together and try to keep it quiet. These men will recieve full recompense too. I gurantee it, as does God's word. A healthy body comes before a healthy mind. A diseased body brought about by overeating (aka gluttony) can not possibly produce a healthy mind. If your gut is fat, so is your mind. Be warned you fat bassterds claiming to serve the true God...or you skinny ones with obese wives. You could help her become healthy but you just send her to the pharmacy. For this you will pay just as Adam was held responsible for Eve's sin. I'll be in your faces once my training is complete. See ya soon.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thumper

      OMG! Do you re-read any oth the stuff you write?

      November 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blas

      LMAO you are the biggest moron I have ever read anything by

      November 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KRIS

    It is sad that today there is so many misconceptions about HIV/Aids. There are a LOT of drugs that keep the virus at bay and a person healthy who have HIV. The problem is that most people with HIV in the world live in places or situations where they are unlikely or unable to get the medications needed to stay healthy. In the Western World many, many, many people are living healthy full and normal life spans with HIV. You can't see HIV like you could before HAART (Highly Acatve Antiviral Therapy). People in the USA who are on thearapy don't look like they people back in the Dark Days of the AIDS crissis. Stigma and Ignorance remains the number one Killer of people with HIV.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thumper

      Now, if you can convince the person who is laughing it's ass off about people with AIDS this, we might get somewhere!

      November 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blas

      Thanks Kris for some intelligent input

      November 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. whattheheck

    What is cnn, celebrating this anniversary? How about how is he doing? Id like to see that he is ok and healthy.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Old Driller w/no TV

    Hogwash. Those "aids drugs" being distributed throughout the world are placebos. The world's most successful surgeon (in terms of saving childrens live) discovered this and was found dead with a whiskey bottle and a shotgun blast to his head. Even CNN reported that he died from an "apparent suicide" even though this man had never drank nor owned a gun in his life. You have 'keywords' in this text that are more than enough to help you on your way to knowing these things. And if you read ALL of "LMAO" posts above, you will know the truth about aids.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thumper

      I read them, but they were so all ove the place that they made no sense. You can't string sentences together very well.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blas

      I have HIV and you are a moron, nothing you say has any truth to it please keep your idiotic thoughts to yourself

      November 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • teach

      Looked for the guy. Found nothing. You cannot support your argument with lies.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr Foilhat

      I googled "successful surgeon whiskey bottle shotgun blast" but there was nothing there about AIDS drugs. I'm confused. What do I do now, master?

      November 7, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Blas

    WRONG

    November 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Biff Awesome

    Magic doesnt have HIV anymore. Matter of fact, there is a cure for AIDS, but no one is going to advertise it. Shoot, id be willing to be that there are cures for everything. Why dont we see these cures? Greed. Can you imagine how much money pharmecutical companies make off of selling medicine? If someone were to put the cure out there, then that would eliminate the need for medicine, companies start losing money, and people start losing work. On a broader scale, if everyone in the world never got sick, or contracted a disease (wether AIDS, Liver Damage, Heart Disease, etc...), then everyone would live. a long time. Imagine how over populated the earth would be. No resources for us to consume...no room to grow... So in essence, as crazy as this may sound, people have to die for the rest of us to survive.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • EPaul

      Test

      November 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mit43

      In other News: Aliens have possessed the entire population of dogs and intend to take over the world soon.....

      November 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      You need to adjust your tinfoil hat. It seems to be a little too tight and it is cutting off the circulation to your brain.

      November 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ROKROK

      "Biff Awesome..."Magic doesnt have HIV anymore. Matter of fact, there is a cure for AIDS, but no one is going to advertise it"

      Someone PLEASE send this man any information you can find on Drugs to treat various forms of psyhotic Dementia ....

      November 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Old Driller w/no TV

    @Bryan White...ok. Prove to me that being obese is healthier than being fit and trim. You can't. Our genetic makeup has been altered by decades of pharmaceutical and street drug abuse. Note that we spend more on mind-altering frugs than we do on national defense, also the failed "war on drugs". Bayer AG has in fact neen exposed for selling drugs laced with HIV. (Youtube 'nazi bayer ag' and watch NBC's video proof) Bayer AG had their own corporate concentration camp where they experimented on jews with advanced pharmaceuticals and genetic alteration experiments. note: they take wild dogs and make 'noodle dogs', for example...ditto humans. After the war, along with rocket scientists like Werher Von Braun, the "father of NASA", Nazi geneticists and pharmacologists were brought back as well, most of them to work for American Bayer AG. it was ONLY after WW2 that Americans began becoming addicted to mind altering drugs. (even that BMW model J-38 flying saucer found near area 51 was brought-back...but it...(cont)

    November 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Old Driller w/no TV

    ..but it crashed because the gentically altered children couldn't Playstation control it, yet. Research the German secret weapons facilities of namely Pinamunde and Nordhauesen, Germany were disassymbled and then reassybled at places like Area 51 and where NORAD was said to be located, Cheyenne mtn. Colorado. (NORAD is at Petersen AFB) An huge powerplant just south of that mountain big enough to power a city of 25O,000 provides power to this operation. I lve nearby and for over 30 years have spent literally months camping just west of there. I have seen 6 flying saucers and have heard dozens more over the years. Research nazi flying saucers...even US TROOPS REPORTED SEEING THEM IN germany, long before the 10's of thousands of sightings here in the USA were reported only AFTER they were brought back here. This is real, my friend. The next phony war will be the world's governments united in a war vs. invading aliens. People will be scared into not wanting free countries...One World Gov. will rule.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Magic Johnson is an incredibly brave man to have announced his HIV when he did, when knowledge about this was still in its infancy.
    He has helped spread knowledge about HIV when there was nothing but blatant fearmongering going on.
    I admired him then, and I admire him now.
    I wish him nothing but the best.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arthur Ashe

      @banasy: What am I chopped liver? I got mine through a blood transfusion, while Magic got his from raw dogging street walkers. I assume you'd call your hubby courageous if he brought home Aids after nailing red light ladies behind your back? That's what I thought. It's good to have a high profile person to bring awareness, but I stop short at calling Magic courageous. True courage would be to stay faithful to your wife, despite all your NBA buddies cheating on theirs.

      November 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thumper

      It's an opinion, you doosh. Jeeeeez!

      November 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Old Driller w/no TV

    Either he announced it, or kept it a secret and risked being prosecuted for knowingly spreading HIV to not only the NBA, but to the over 3,000 women he has admitted to sleeping with.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ExCalibur

    *Sigh*
    Nothithstanding the criticism I knew I would get fron someone, I admire the man for taking responsibility and accounting for his actions.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
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