The Minute Our World Changed - Magic Johnson's Announcement
I've got a secret; I've been in love with Magic Johnson for decades now (shhhhh....his wife Cookie doesn't know). What made me fall in love this baskeball phenomenon?
Well, watch the documentary "The Announcement" (shown there to the left), and I'll just bet you fall in love with this remarkable man too. This very well made documentary is narrated by Magic himself, in 2011, 20 years after he received his 'death sentence.'
'The Announcement' does a beautiful job of not just focusing on Magic Johnson, the basketball player, or Magic Johnson the HIV infected individual - instead, it focuses on Magic Johnson the man. It brings basketball and AIDS together as it follows his life (the good, the bad, and the ugly) after he made the announcement to the press. And, a fantastic life it has been.
When Magic Johnson was diagnosed with the virus in 1991, HIV/AIDS was a very new disease - there was not yet any information available about transmission although it was already known that sweat (such as a super athlete like Magic exudes) does not spread the disease. The foremost thought was that AIDS was a disease contained within the homosexual community. If you had heterosexual sex, you were safe, right? WRONG.
Magic Johnson immediately retired from basketball and became the spokesperson for the AIDS Commission under President Bush - a commission that did little in the way of research (or anything else for that matter). Magic subsequently quit the commission and went on to do what felt more natural to him. He founded the Magic Johnson Foundation (MJF), a foundation that focuses on education, testing, and further advances in drugs.
Back to The Announcement: I remember watching Magic Johnson hold his press conference and open himself up to the world. I remember seeing the nervousness in the manner of this usually rock-steady man. What I remember the most though, were his closing words:
"Life is going to go on for me, and I'm going to be a happy man," he said. "When your back is against the wall, you have to come out swinging," he said. "I'm going to go on, going to be there, going to have fun."
And, I remember that famous smile. And, that's the precise moment I fell in love with Magic.
I've probably watched, read, and YouTubed everything there is to know about Magic Johnson. Here's a few of the offerings on Amazon.com.
I'm not enough of a sports fan to wear a jersey but maybe you are....
A truly raw look inside Magic Johnson. He holds nothing back in this autobiography.
What could be better for a Magic fan than an actual signed basketball?
Here's some of my favorite videos of Magic.
Magic did a tv show with children - 2 of whom had AIDS. "We're just normal people" - the words of a child infected with HIV. Grab a tissue.
This compilation of Magic's dazzle on the basketball court is amazing. The fact that this man can pass a ball behind him without looking floored me. He's so fast, I couldn't even keep up with where the ball went a lot of the time.
Magic Johnson on a radio show "Sway in the Morning." His smile is dazzling.