On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson announced at an emotional news conference he was HIV-positive, shocking coaches, teammates and sports fans all over the world. In a new ESPN Films documentary, “The Announcement,” his Los Angeles Lakers teammate James Worthy, who would later join Magic in the Basketball Hall of Fame, said, “I just went numb.”
The numbness Worthy and others felt would fade as Magic became a big advocate for those living with HIV/AIDS. The film looks at Magic’s life since he made the announcement and how things have changed in the HIV/AIDS epidemic over the past 20 years.
At a red carpet premiere of the movie in Los Angeles, Johnson was asked what people can take way from the film. “I want them to take
away that I never gave up and I went public because I wanted to educate people, to save people’s lives,” said Magic. “Sometimes, when you make a mistake it hurts people and those people who love you – it hurts them. I want people to take away that when you are in a position to help people, that is what you should do and that is what I tried to do.”
Since his playing days ended, he has helped people through his Magic Johnson Foundation, which raises money for community-based organizations focused on HIV/AIDS education and prevention. The 52-year-old Johnson has also become a successful businessman in a variety of ventures. In one of his most recent ones, announced in February, Magic said he was launching a 24-hour cable television network targeted at African-Americans.