ESPN aired last March 2012 a documentary about Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson and his ordeal living with HIV. Producer Nelson George you did an outstanding work with this documentary!
I was working in a non-profit servicing people living with HIV/AIDS in Puerto Rico at the time. Although I do not have the disease myself, I had a fairly good idea of what it meant and what would eventually happen once someone was diagnosed. I knew more about it than probably 90% of the population and definitely more than Magic himself back then. Because of this I still remember the day he announced it to the world. I felt the world stopped the moment I heard him say “because of this HIV/AIDS virus I have I will retire from basketball”. Really, as a fan of his great game, I just couldn’t grasp what I heard that day. I can’t remember how long I and many of my friends were on a daze over the fact that our basketball hero will soon be gone not just from the court but from life period. As odd as it sounds, we mourned him from that same day. At the time, an HIV diagnoses was an almost sure death sentence within a year.
As time went by and treatment options increased, so did Magic’s and countless others lifespan. It is a blessing to turn on the TV and be able to see Magic’s big smile and great analysis at pre & post game shows, twenty years later and counting!
Thank you Magic and Cookie for your courage to come forward publicly with this announcement. Indeed you saved innumerable lives.
HIV/AIDS is STILL a preventable & treatable disease. There is NO cure or vaccine for it.
As of 2008, it is estimated 617.025 people have died of AIDS in the US (not including its territories. PR has the highest rate of infection and mortality among its territories, higher than most states of the union). Close to 50,000 are diagnosed each year with HIV, with the biggest number among 20-24 years old. This means those of us that lived through the early stages of this pandemic are not doing a good job at passing on to younger generations key live-saving information.