30 years to this day, Magic Johnson shocked the entire world when he held a press conference to retire from the NBA. He was at the pinnacle of his career, 31 years old, just coming off a season where he averaged 19.4 points, 12 assists, and 7 rebounds.
Johnson was known for flashing his million-dollar smile, but on this somber press conference, he understandably spoke with a reluctance.
“Because of the HIV virus that I have, I will have to retire from the Lakers today.”
He spoke recently with Gayle King on ‘CBS Mornings’ and reflected on how he felt during tragic press conference.
“You just sit there and say, what does this mean? Am I gonna die?”
This drew shockwaves around society, as the health community up to that point still had no idea how to treat the HIV/AIDS virus. At that time, the general consensus was that the virus stayed away from heterosexuals. Think of the HIV virus like how society was like back in the beginning of 2020, when our health community were still ignorant to how COVID-19 transmitted.
Today, Johnson recalled that tragic day and recounted how he felt fortunate to still be alive today at the age of 62.
After he was diagnosed with the disease, Magic launched the Magic Johnson Foundation to educate the public about the virus. He also got Congress and the White House to spent money to raise awareness about the disease. Outside of his HIV activism, Johnson is a minority owner of the Dodgers, and the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks.