There is no doubt that basketball legend Magic Johnson has been HIV-positive. In fact, he’s been pretty open about his status. However, Magic never commented on what he endured behind the scenes and off the court.
ESPN’s documentary film “The Announcement,” directed by Nelson George, examines the Lakers point guard star’s life. The special documented the startling revelation of him and his journey being HIV-positive.
Clips from the documentary showed his struggles debating on whether he wanted to be a spokesperson or not. He talked openly about everyone wanting him to be the poster child of this disease and lack of support from the Bush administration.
Everyone wanted what they wanted said Johnson.
During the time, Magic found out he was diagnosed, the HIV/AIDS epidemic was just coming to the forefront of everyone’s mind. However, we know that many people called this: the gay man’s disease. For them to see someone who was appreciated for his work on the basketball court, able to have functional life and maintain his health, to see someone like him contract the virus was shocking.
“The Announcement” was a very, very personal experience Magic shared with us. He also talked about being accepted and the struggles he faced on daily basis with his peers and career. He alluded to people not even wanting to play basketball with him after years of having people dying to play with him. NBA Commissioner David Stern talked about how certain players were terrified of having contact with Magic and the tough decisions of supporting Magic or doubters. With many internal battles, Johnson almost gave up but he kept pushing.
When this announcement came 20 years ago, Magic dispelled many myths about the virus. Today, we know that Magic is still heavily involved in educating and empower everyone. This is a documentary, not just about Magic and his announcement, but about where we were as a society with this virus.
If you missed the documentary, check your local listings on ESPN.