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. banasy©

    I don't point that finger.
    But you just did.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LMAO

    he had no choice but to own up. if he hadn't, he would be facing dozens of lawsuits and probably already convicted of knowingly spreading HIV. All of the hundreds of women he slept with after he made his official announcement have no grounds to sue him on. being a man-hoe is a weakness, not a sign of courage. Everyone knows it, not all will have the courage to admit it. lmao.period. And what about the courageous women who slept with him AFTER they were told he had HIV? Now THAT'S courage. lmao. gb

    November 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • C

      On thing I remember very clearly ;was wondering how come no one ever heard anything about all those women. i wonder if any of them have died.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Seth Bullock

    Historical context: 1991 was only 10 yrs after AIDS came into the limelight, and, until MJ, about the only thing people knew about it was that Rock Hudson had it and it was virtually a death sentence. The nation still wasn't as enlightened as it is now, regarding the compassionate treatment of AIDS/HIV carriers. MJ was the 1st youthful star to come out and say he had it, meaning that this was the beginning of general compassion for the carriers because, Hey, if an uber-hetero like Magic can get it, then we can, too, so we should play nice.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Lmao,
    Picking apart my opinion doesn't make it any more or any less valid.
    Courage is owning up when you're wrong.
    Try it. Gb.

    November 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bayer

    Pharmaceuticals. The greatest products known to man. Try some today. Ask your doctor.

    November 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mr Foilhat

    Master? I'm listening. Help me master. Are you the giant sperm, or just LMAO and the driller? I'm trying to find clues, but I can't understand you. Oh please help me.

    November 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. katmoondaddy

    It's very difficult to contract HIV from a woman. It's actually 10 times more difficult! So I ask you.......how did he get it?

    November 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • dsavio

      By sleeping with 10 times as many women. Statistics, it's what's for dinner.

      November 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NanookoftheNorth

    Wow, what a difference 20 yrs. makes, huh ? I too thought his announcement back then was a death sentence. Look how far
    medicine and science have come !

    November 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Phil

    If I get AIDS, I hope it's the Magic Johnson kind and not the Freddie Mercury kind.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    @Phil:
    Freddie Mercury was bi, so it follows that he could have gotten it the same way that Magic did; by sleeping with an infected *woman*.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Phil

    Lance, he thinks a great many things that are flat-out wrong. That's why this an opinion board, nit a fact board, thankfully.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. LOGIC

    I READ ALL THE POST! WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS Y WOULD YOU TALK ABOUT "HIV" & NOT MENTION THE NAME OF THE EXACT MEDICINE THAT HAS PROHIBITED THIS DISEASE FROM ADVANCING/ AND SHAME ON THE DOCTORS FOR THE RELATED DEATHS OF MILLIONS! GOD WILL DEAL WITH YOU! ENJOY YOURSELF AND YOUR GREED IT WONT LAST FOREVER AND IM GLAD IM NOT YOU!

    November 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LMAO@LMAO

    What about fat men with fat wives? I see more of that then anything!

    November 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Phillip

    I like to swallow and get it in the other end too ,that way Im sure to get it sooner or later.

    November 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Penn State Alumnus

    Perhaps all of the women who slept with Johnson after he officially announced he was an HIV carrier will get full-blown AIDS. They knew the risk involved with sleeping with such a courageous man. No risk, no reward, they say. Let them have their reward in full for being such courageous women.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
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