It seems hard to believe that it’s been nearly 20 years since Hall of Fame basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson announced he had the virus that causes AIDS.
I remember being in the VOA Newsroom when Magic was about to make his announcement on 7 November 1991. There was so much uncertainty surrounding the Lakers star. And, after the announcement, I wondered, like a lot of people, how much longer Magic would live. During his public announcement, Magic said he would dedicate his life to battling the deadly disease.
On World AIDS Day, Magic Johnson seems as vibrant as ever. His Magic Johnson Foundation promotes AIDS testing and works to give minority communities better access to treatment.
During an appearance earlier this week in Los Angeles, Magic said a lot has changed over the past two decades in how people with AIDS are treated and perceived, and how he himself is viewed by others. “I haven’t played in 15 to 20 years,” said Magic, “and now when people come up to me it’s never about basketball. I guess I’ve turned the page on another chapter in my life.”
The book on Magic Johnson is now much about the fight against AIDS, and it’s one I’ll continue to read in the years ahead.