Magic Johnson – a basketball legend fighting HIV for nearly 30 years

Despite his illustrious basketball career, Magic Johnson’s greatest triumph was his victory over the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Magic Johnson chua tri HIV anh 1

Magic Johnson chua tri HIV anh 1

Magic Johnson is one of the greatest basketball players in history. He was a key factor in the “Showtime” era that helped the Los Angeles Lakers dominate the NBA in the 1980s.

Magic’s career is a mix of beautiful memories and regrets. Many analysts believe that Magic’s career could have been even greater if he had not contracted HIV. Some even believe that Michael Jordan would have a hard time becoming the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) in basketball if Magic’s career had continued.

Today, Magic is a role model and a great source of inspiration for HIV patients. He is still healthy and active in the community after announcing his HIV status at the end of 1991. “To me, Magic is a hero, a hero to anyone who loves sports,” said former U.S. President George H. W. Bush.

Talent “one in a hundred years”

In the 1980s, Magic was the model basketball player for the future, standing at 6’9″ with perfect basketball skills. In the role of a point guard, Magic could pass, control the ball, and have great spatial awareness.

Additionally, Magic was a versatile player who could play any position in basketball. In the deciding game for the championship of the 1979/80 season, Magic was assigned to play center to replace Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had to sit out due to an ankle injury.

He excelled in his role, contributing 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals to help the Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 123-107 to win the championship. His outstanding performance helped him earn the Finals MVP award. To this day, Magic is the only player to win the NBA championship and the Finals MVP award as a rookie.

Magic is the clearest definition of the concept of “talent does not wait for age,” immediately becoming a star in his first season in the NBA. The 60-year-old legend achieved countless successes in his career with 5 NBA championships, 3 regular season MVP awards, and 3 Finals MVP awards. He ended his career with an average of 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, and 7.2 rebounds after 906 games in 13 seasons.

Magic Johnson chua tri HIV anh 2

In 1996, Magic was voted by the NBA as one of the 50 greatest basketball players of all time. In 2002, Magic was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. ESPN also honored Magic as the greatest point guard in the history of basketball in 2007.

Hero against HIV

Magic Johnson is a hero in the fight against HIV. He is an example of the saying “talent always comes with flaws.” Magic’s talent and fame made him a man admired by women throughout the United States in the 1980s.

Magic Johnson chua tri HIV anh 3

Magic Johnson chua tri HIV anh 3

Magic admitted to having sexual relationships with many women throughout his career. “I’ve never been without women during my travels across the United States when I played in the NBA… I admit that when I became an NBA player in 1979, I tried to have relationships with as many women as possible, most of them were unsafe sexual relationships,” Magic Johnson told Sports Illustrated.

It was his promiscuous lifestyle that led Magic to contract HIV. He didn’t know exactly when he became infected with the disease. “I’m sure I got the disease when I had unsafe sex with some woman. The problem is I can’t determine the exact time, place, or woman. It’s a matter of quantity,” Magic Johnson admitted to Sports Illustrated.

After undergoing a physical exam before the 1991/92 season, Magic was diagnosed as HIV positive. On November 7, 1991, Magic held a press conference and announced his retirement. He revealed that he was HIV positive and declared that he would spend the rest of his life fighting this deadly disease. “Because of the HIV virus that I have attained, I will have to retire from the Lakers today,” Magic declared at the press conference.

Magic’s announcement shook the United States because he was one of the top sports superstars at the time, and the world still did not fully understand HIV/AIDS at that time. Many stars in various fields chose to remain silent when they became HIV positive, but Magic courageously made it public to everyone.

At that time, being diagnosed with HIV was considered a quick and painful death sentence. Despite the somber atmosphere in the press conference, Magic remained calm, strong, and full of life. He constantly talked about his desire to live in his statements at the press conference. “I have plans for the future, to live a long life, to bother you like I have. So, you will see me everywhere,” Magic said.

Doctors believed that Magic would only live for about 3 years despite his optimism. However, Magic surprised everyone by beating “the Grim Reaper” and is still alive today.

After retiring from basketball, Magic has always been a leader in HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex education, as a businessman and philanthropist. He founded and runs Magic Johnson Enterprises to operate movie theaters and large restaurant chains. Now, the market capitalization of Magic Johnson Enterprises is over 1 billion USD. In 2009, Magic was voted by Ebony magazine as the most influential black businessman in the United States. In addition, Magic has expanded his investments in various fields, including becoming a shareholder of 2 sports teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks.

Magic Johnson has lived with HIV for nearly 30 years. He still travels around the world to inspire and bring hope to those who are unfortunate enough to have HIV/AIDS. Especially, he still lives and plays basketball every day.


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